Inspecting your well: A step-by-step checklist

It is important to prevent drinking water contamination in all water systems, including small systems. If you live in a First Nations community that uses wells with fewer than five connections, follow this step-by-step checklist on how to visually inspect your well.

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1. Confirm which type of well you have

Depending on the water table depth and the nature of the soil in the area, you may have either a drilled well, a dug/bored well, or a sandpoint well.

Drilled well

  • Draws water from deep groundwater aquifers
  • Diameter: 10 to 20 centimetres
  • Depth: more than 15 metres

Dug/Bored well

  • Draws water from shallow groundwater aquifers
  • Diameter: 60 to 120 centimetres
  • Depth:
    • (Dug well) 3 to 9 metres
    • (Bored well) 9 to 15 metres

Sandpoint well

  • Draws water from shallow groundwater aquifers located in sandy area
  • Diameter: 2.5 to 5 centimetres
  • Depth: less than 3 metres

2. Around the well

To keep the area around the well clean:

Keep a log of your inspections. As you complete each item on the checklist, make note of any signs of damage and needed repairs. Share this information with your Environmental Public Health Officer (EPHO) and Community-based Water Monitor (CBWM) as required. Ensure that repairs are completed quickly and note the date they are completed in your inspection log.

Contact your Community Health Centre to obtain contact information for your EPHO or CBWM.

3. The well cap

Drilled well

  • Inspect the well cap to make sure it is not damaged or cracked. If it is, contact a licensed well contractor to have it replaced or repaired.
  • Make sure your well has a vermin-proof cap. If it does not, contact a licensed well contractor.

Loose-fitting caps make wells a comfortable home for insects and vermin.

Dug/Bored well

  • Make sure your dug/bored well cap is built to keep out insects and vermin as much as possible.
  • Make sure the cap is attached firmly to the casing.
  • Make sure the vent is properly screened and is facing the ground. If not, contact a licensed well contractor for advice.
  • Keep the well cap clear of snow, leaves, debris and other obstacles.
  • Make sure the well cap sits on a casing that is above ground (30 to 40 cm) and exposed at all times.

Your well must be sealed to protect your well water from surface water and unwanted vermin.

4. Check the annular seal

The annular seal serves as a barrier to run-off surface water that could otherwise travel down the outside of the casing and contaminate the aquifer.

5. Check the well casing

Rust on the well casing could leave holes near the ground surface where run-off can seep into the well and contaminate the groundwater.

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