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Taking Action to Protect Your Drinking Water. Private Water Wells and Springs. Management and protection is voluntary!. Private Water Wells One Million and Counting!. Wells drilled 1966-1994. Understand where your water comes from. What is Groundwater?. Soil. Capillary Water.

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Private Water Wells

One Million and Counting!

Wells drilled 1966-1994


Understand where your water comes from

What is Groundwater?




Unsaturated Rock


Saturated Rock





Pennsylvania Aquifers

Sandstone and shale aquifers

80 to 200 feet deep

5 to 60 gal/min

Moderate hardness

Carbonate aquifers

100 to 250 feet deep

5 to 500 gal/min

Very hard water

Sand and gravel aquifers

20 to 200 feet deep

100 to 1,000 gal/min

Soft water

Crystalline aquifers

75 to 150 feet deep

5 to 25 gal/min

Soft water

make sure your well is properly constructed

Make sure your well is properly constructed

Sanitary well cap

Good casing

Sloping Ground


Grout seal


Water Table

Groundwater “aquifer”


"Sanitary" Well Cap

Standard Well Cap

About 50% have insects under cap

Seals well to prevent contamination


Seal the spring box to prevent insects,

animals and surface contamination

properly locate the water supply

Properly Locate the Water Supply

Wellhead protection zones

Greatest impact on well

Moderate impact on well

Some impact on well


Direction of

Groundwater Movement


barn and barnyard

home and

septic system



Limit Activities Near the Well

Keep activities at least 50 feet from wellhead or spring box

be aware of local activities within sight

Be Aware of Local Activities(within sight)

Landfills, dumps


Gas - Oil Wells




recognize symptoms of common problems
Recognize Symptoms of Common Problems
  • White residue, dull laundry - hardness
  • Reddish stains, metallic taste – iron
  • Black stains, metallic taste - manganese
  • Rotten egg odor - hydrogen sulfide gas
  • Blue stains, metallic taste - corrosive water
test your water
Test Your Water!
  • Use certified laboratories
  • Annually
    • coliform bacteria
  • Every three years
    • pH, total dissolved solids, local pollutant
  • Before new activities
    • specific test for the activity
  • Water testing gives you legal protection!
understand your test results
Understand Your Test Results
  • Drinking Water Standards = "acceptable" level of pollutant
    • Primary (MCL) - over 80 exist
      • Coliform bacteria - 0 per 100 mL
      • Nitrate-N - less than 10 ppm
      • Lead - less than 15 ppb
    • Secondary (RMCL) - over a dozen
      • Total dissolved solids (TDS) - less than 500 ppm
      • pH - 6.5 to 8.5
      • Iron - less than 0.3 ppm
  • Consult Extension publications for help
protect your supply of water
Protect Your Supply of Water
  • Monitor regional well levels from USGS wells (
  • Monitor well problems in nearby wells

Keep Records in a Safe Place

Water test results

Well log

Equipment manuals, warranties

Publications, fact sheets

Expert contact information

if you find a water pollutant explore all of your options
If You Find a Water Pollutant – Explore All of Your Options
  • Determine the source of the contamination and control it?
  • Fix your well to prevent the contamination?
  • Find a new source of water?
  • Treat the water to remove the pollutant
store water for emergencies
Store Water for Emergencies
  • Use FDA approved containers
  • Disinfect container and water
  • Store enough for 1 gallon per person per day
  • Store in cool, dark place