Problem: Output from a private
well drops below the home’s requirements.
Background: In rural areas where homes are unable
to connect to municipal water systems, a private well may
eventually lose its ability to supply the home with an
adequate amount of water. A drop in well performance can
be caused by a number of factors, including faulty design,
poor materials and construction, over-pumping, corrosion,
scaling, and iron deposits or bacteria. Pumping equipment,
instead of the well itself, may also be the cause of the
What to do: Before blaming the well, first check
the pumping system for problems. Make sure the pump is
supplied with adequate power, that fuses aren’t blown, and
that the pump itself is not worn out. Many pump failures
are caused by corrosive or incrusting water, as well as
power line voltage surges (caused by lightning) that burn
out their motors. If all appears to be working, a well
contractor in your area may be able to revive the well.
Maintenance or rehabilitation is eventually required for
most private wells, regardless of its location, depth, or
type. Many wells no longer supplying adequate water can be
restored to produce up to 90% of their original yield.
Special advice: Proper maintenance will reduce the
need for well rehabilitation. Ask a well-drilling or
ground water contractor what maintenance should be
performed on a regular basis and when the well’s output
drops below a certain point (usually not less than 50% of
the well’s original capacity).
Helpful hint: Any
noticeable change in water quality may indicate that
poor-quality water is entering the well through a hole in
its casing. Even if no quality problems are apparent, it’s
a good idea to have private well water tested regularly.
Both private and public water testing facilities are