What is a Well Inspection Checklist?
A well or groundwater well is a deep hole dug into the soil to access water from groundwater aquifers. Groundwater aquifers are formed by water that infiltrates into the soil and gets trapped by dense rock layers. These aquifers get regularly “recharged” or “refilled” by the water cycle. However, due to increasing water demands and changes in climate, there are instances where aquifers can dry up, which is when they are recharged artificially.
Groundwater is a great source of drinking water because of the soil’s natural filtration capabilities that can remove bacteria and other pathogens. But there still are external factors that might affect water quality. For that reason, government agencies have created various regulations and recommendations to ensure that groundwater wells are thoroughly inspected so that the water is safe for human usage.
With a well inspection checklist you can perform your audits more easily since you will significantly reduce the risk of forgetting to check anything important. Such a checklist will generally contain a list of requirements to ensure that a groundwater well is in good condition. Depending on national and local regulations, it may also contain other essential information such as tips on proper maintenance, water treatment procedures, and local contractors that are certified for water well maintenance.
In this article, you will learn:
The 3 Types of Wells
As with anything, in order to perform a proper inspection audit, it is important to be aware of the object you are inspecting so that you can make sure you are following the correct procedures and requirements. For well does not equal well and there are differences to be aware of.
There are three main types of wells and you can use the following list in order to identify the type of well you will inspect if you don’t already know.
- Drilled Wells
A drilled well is, as the name suggests, constructed by drilling a borehole into the ground. The upper part, and often the entire well is then lined with casing as a preventive measure to avoid the collapse of the borehole walls. Such a casing, however, also prevents surface contamination of the water supply.
- Driven Wells
An economically sound and comparatively simple well is the so-called driven well. They are unsealed and can only tap into shallow water, which results in an easy contamination potential. They are constructed by driving pipes into shallow water-bearing sand.
- Dug Wells
As the oldest type of well, the dug well used to be dug out by hand or shovel until the water was reached. Lined with stones or bricks of different kinds, well collapse could be prevented. However, since the casing is not as sound as that of the drilled well, these dug wells pose a higher risk of contaminants entering the water supply. During drought periods, dug wells also tend to run dry since the water will drop below the well bottom.
How To Inspect A Water Well in 4 Steps
New well owners might wonder: how long does a well inspection take? To complete the general procedures and finalize the well inspection report, you will need about 2 to 3 hours. The results of the water testing,however, might take 1 or 2 weeks to arrive.
There are four general procedures to be followed in order to perform a successful well inspection. Each procedure tackles various aspects of the well such as its construction, location, water quality, and output. You will find them outlined and detailed in the following paragraphs, but keep in mind that you might need to supplement your personal well inspection checklist with local regulations and requirements to pay attention to.
STEP 1: CHECKING OF WELL LOCATION AND CONDITION
The first procedure should be to check the well location. This is very important because it affects the well’s safety and effectiveness.
According to specific guidelines, a well should always be placed in the following way:
- Wells should be 50 feet away from any septic tank, livestock yards, silos, septic leach fields.
- Wells should be 100 feet away from petroleum tanks, liquid-tight manure storage, and fertilizer storage and handling facilities.
- Wells should be 250 feet away from any manure stack.
Aside from these specific guidelines, there is also a general reminder to look out for any possible sources of contamination and to regularly get your wells tested and sampled.
Well condition refers to its overall compliance with well construction guidelines. And these guidelines can vary depending on the country or state but it is generally about the well’s depth, age, and design. Substantial findings regarding the well location and condition will be recorded on the well inspection report.
2. INSPECTION OF 5 MAJOR WELL COMPONENTS
The second procedure documented on a well inspection checklist refers to checking each individual component of the well. Doing so ensures that the well is operating efficiently and is compliant with standards. Although there are a lot of elements to a list, we will only be discussing the functions and some guidelines for the five major well components below.
- Well Casing
The casing is a major well component that serves as a protective lining that separates the groundwater from the surface water. This is usually made from corrosion-resistant materials such as plastic, carbon steel, galvanized steel, and stainless steel.
The casing should extend at least 12 inches or 1 foot above the ground to prevent any surface water from entering. In areas that have a nearby body of water or are prone to flooding, standards may dictate it to be a lot higher.
- Well Pump
The pump is a mechanical component that pushes the water from the hole up to the storage tank. It does so by using an electrical motor coupled to an impeller.
During the design phase, it is important to consider the pump capacity and type appropriate to the needs. The capacity must adhere to the peak water demand, not the average demand. If undersized, the water supply might not be able to keep up. So, it is recommended to work with a certified groundwater well contractor.
- Well Tank
The tank receives water from the pump and stores it under pressure. When water is used, the pressure in the tank decreases but still provides the needed push to deliver it to pipes. When the pressure drops to a set threshold, the pump operates again to replenish the lost water and pressure.
It is important to consider the size, number, and type of well tank during the design phase. A proper tank design can ease the pump operation thus prolonging the equipment life and lowering the risk of a breakdown.
- Well Cap
The well cap is a component that seals the top opening of the well casing. It should be watertight and totally encloses the casing’s opening to prevent the entry of any unwanted material. It is usually made from aluminum with a vented screen to equalize any pressure between the inside and outside of the well.
It is recommended to regularly check the well cap to make sure it’s still in good condition and continues to serve its purpose.
- Pressure Switches and Valves
Pressure switches are the components that signal the pump to start or stop at a set pressure. It is usually installed near the water tank for it to have an optimal reading. For the purpose of safety and proper switch installation, it is recommended to contact a qualified electrician.
Valves, in turn, control the flow of water. There are different types of valves that can be used and they have varying purposes such as backflow prevention, ease of parts replacement, or pressure retention. These are usually decided upon during the design phase so it’s recommended to consult a professional.
3. TESTING OF WATER QUALITY
The third procedure in your well inspection checklist should be to test the water quality. This means taking samples of the water directly from the well and then bringing it to the laboratory for testing. These tests will determine the water’s potability and the results will show these water quality indicators and contaminants:
- Total Coliform
- Fecal Coliform
- pH Level
- Volatile Organic Compounds
It is recommended to have the well tested annually by the government health or environmental agencies. The tests can also be done by government-accredited laboratories. If the test results show that the well is contaminated, it needs to be closed down for further investigation.
4. ASSESSMENT OF WELL YIELD
The last step of your well inspection is the assessment of water yield. This refers to testing the well’s water supply and determining if it can still meet the peak demand. This is critical since low well yield could result in water supply loss during drought season.
It is recommended to contact a qualified professional for the well yield test since it requires specialized testing equipment to give accurate results. Poor results in the well yield test would mean digging the current holed deeper or building a new well in a different location.
Better Well Inspections With A Digital Checklist
Lumiform’s audit app is the way to successful well inspections. Take our digital checklists with you wherever you go and perform well inspections right in the field in just a couple of clicks. Whether on a smart phone or your tablet, online or offline, or on the desktop version – Lumiform supports you in your quest to deliver clean and healthy drinking or irrigation water. Discover discrepancies and threats quickly and easily and never miss an inspection with our digital checklist application.
- With our thousands of ready-made templates to choose from, you can take your well inspections digital in just a few clicks.
- If you prefer to build your own specific checklist, Lumiform’s flexible form builder helps you convert any paper-based checklists, requirements and regulations into a digital format within minutes.
- With the intuitive and easy-to-use mobile app you can perform well inspections with ease and save time.
- All inspection results are automatically summarised in a report and can be sent to responsible personnel immediately.
- With comprehensive and automated analyses you will uncover threats and errors fast and effectively and thus make sure that water quality remains consistent.
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