Thursday, November 13

It's my well, why should I follow rules?

Today's Water Tip:
The ground around all water wells should be kept free of storage any contaminants. Do you use your pump house for a storage shed? Are gardening tools and chemicals stored in it? Gas for the lawn mower? All contaminants must be kept a distance of 100 feet in all directions from the location of your well. Fertilizers, poisons, farm animals, septic tanks, drain fields and surface water are all sources of contamination that could affect the quality of your drinking water.

It's my well, why should I follow rules?
Who's responsibility is it when it comes to the safety of your drinking water and natural resources? Many think it lies solely on the government agency which governs that natural resource. We seem to forget that property owners also have a responsibility when it comes to drinking water. How can the water sources be kept clean if property owners are not educating themselves and following the rules which are set in place. To much Nitrate in your water? Take a look around, do you have farm animals or crops within 100 feet of your well? Are fertilizers or chemicals used within that 100 foot radius. Are you drilling a new well in an area where fertilizers or farm animals once were present? Common sense goes a long way in the preservation of any natural resource, but the process of educating yourself can reveal many things you may not think of.

There have been a series of articles recently in my area addressing water quality and "hidden wells". Many of these wells are contaminated and pose a risk to the aquifers and other wells in the area. Blame is being placed on the governing agencies. Tell me this, who's fault is it that a well is hidden? Who's fault is it that a water source is not monitored for quality and treated accordingly. Anyone who has a drinking water source, which is not ran by a City or County, has the responsibility to ensure that the water is safe for consumption, and that it does not pose a health risk to other neighboring sources. Unlimited information is available to the public through Local or State agencies upon request, much of this info is posted on that agencies website. State of Washington Dept. of Health offers a wealth of information and publications on their Office of Drinking Water website.

Whether properties are served by a public drinking water source, a private or community well, using good practices can help preserve our drinking water sources for the future. Regulations only work if the rules are respected and followed. In the years that I have been working in the drinking water industry, I have seen many property owners who do not want to follow the rules. They say it is over kill and that they are just not going to comply. So what happens when someone becomes ill? Who's fault is it then?

The way I see it, the responsibility lies with everyone, the ones making the rules along with the ones who are to follow them. There are too many small water systems for the agencies to be aware of, they try, but it can be like searching for needles in haystacks tracking down all the sources. Water users must step up to the plate, saving a buck and avoiding responsibility is not worth someones health, or life. If you have a drinking water source, it's your responsibility to take care of it. Waiting for someone else to do it for you, or hoping no one will notice that the source exists could be a fatal error. If you don't want the responsibility, move to the city, there are rules, but you will have them spelled out for you.......that is if you take time to listen.

The Boardwalk in Louisville KY

(My Kentucky Trip) click to enlarge

The wide spectrum of water uses, turn round and round, like a
water wheel. I welcome your comments


Dan Sander said...

Good article. You are so very right...keeping the well site clean, making sure there are not openings in the top of the well that are not properly screened so insects, dirt, mice, or mice / bird droppings cannot go directly into the well. Finally, if the well is no longer used, have it decomissioned. It will cost some moeny for a licensed well driller to come out and properly decomission a well (according to DOE standards), but the cost is a drop in a bucket compared to potential libility for contaminating the aquifer, or if a larger diamenter well, for having a child fall into it.

J Trout said...

Thanks for your comment Dan, yours is a good point, the liability is not worth it.