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News from the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services
DATE: March 10, 2015
CONTACT: Rick Schofield, (603) 271-1974

Awareness Week: Time to schedule your annual water well checkup

Concord, NH - Just as you check your furnace or replace smoke detector batteries seasonally, spring is a good season to have an annual water well checkup and to test your well water before the peak water use season begins, according to the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES). National Groundwater Awareness Week is March 8-14, but New Hampshire residents will need to wait for the snow to melt before doing their annual well checkup.

An annual checkup by a qualified water well contractor is the best way to ensure problem-free service and quality water.  Also, preventative maintenance usually is less costly than emergency maintenance, and good well maintenance — like good car maintenance — can prolong the life of a well and related equipment.  NHDES recommends that private well users test their water whenever there is a change in taste, odor, or appearance, when the system is serviced, or at least once every three years.

Nearly half of N.H. residents receive their drinking water from private wells, as opposed to regulated public water systems.  But with well ownership comes the responsibility of keeping the well in good working order and testing for common contaminants such as arsenic and radon.  A check of your well should include:
•    Checking the well cover to make sure it keeps out insects, snakes, and other animals;
•    Making sure the casing is high enough to keep out snowmelt and surface runoff;
•    Making sure the well is located far enough from septic systems and other potential sources of contamination such as storage sheds, areas where pesticides or fertilizers are used, or where lawn and garden equipment is fueled; and
•    An annual test for bacteria, nitrate, and nitrite, and testing for a longer list of contaminants every three years.

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