What You Need to Know About Drilling a Private Water Well

outdoor faucet for water on private land

Before you can start building a home, farm, or business on your land, you’ll most likely need to have a groundwater well installed by professionals. In this post, we will cover just about everything you need to know about putting a private well on your land, including a few bookmark-worthy resources.

Types of Private Wells

There are three types of wells that can be used for groundwater wells: 

  • Dug/bored wells
  • Driven wells
  • Drilled wells

As you likely noticed, these are distinguished by the method in which they are installed. Dug or bored wells are literally dug into the ground by shovel or backhoe. They are lined (cased), typically with stone, brick, or tile, to prevent collapse. These wells are usually only 10-30 feet deep. Because dug wells are so shallow, they are more susceptible to drying up over time.

Driven wells are installed by driving pipe into the ground. These wells are cased continuously and are usually between 30 and 50 feet deep. Although they are cased, driven wells may be subject to contamination risk because they draw water from aquifers closer to the surface.

Drilled wells are installed by drilling machines and can be thousands of feet deep. These wells require continuous casing installation. Drilled wells are far less likely to become contaminated due to their depth and use of continuous casing. 

Where to Install Your Well

Choosing the right location for your well is very important. You’ll want to choose a location where rainwater drains away from the installation spot. Rainwater can collect harmful bacteria and chemicals that could compromise the safety of the well water. 

You also need to make sure the well site is at least 50 feet away from the septic tank. Livestock yards, silos, and septic leach fields should also be at least 50 feet from the well site. 

Petroleum tanks, liquid-tight manure storage, and fertilizer storage and handling structures should be at least 150 feet from the well site. 

Manure stacks need to be at least 250 feet away from the well site.

What to Know Before You Drill

There are a few important aspects of groundwater well installation that every landowner should consider. Keep these things in mind before you start drilling.

Know which well is right for you.

As we explained above, not all wells are the same. Some are shallow and are better suited for small-scale use, irrigation, or water that is not for drinking. Other types of wells are deep and have less risk of contamination or drying up over time, but they are more costly and their construction is more complicated. Discuss your water needs with a qualified groundwater expert to determine the best well for your scenario.

Work with someone who is licensed and insured.

Before you agree to hire a well professional, make sure they hold the necessary licensing, certifications, and insurance for your area. The National Ground Water Association (NGWA) has a terrific guide for what to look for when hiring a well installation contractor (link in resources below.)

Great Resources for Dilling a Well on Your Land

Bookmark these links for some very helpful information on properly installing a well. 

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