“Well, Well, What Can the Matter Be?”
Well water problems can be a huge headache for people. From the moment the groaning is heard that signals that there is no water to the time waiting until the well refills, it is truly inconvenient. While this is the end result of problems with a well, there are actually many causes for a loss of water. Some have some easy fixes that can take care of the problem and others require more elaborate and expensive solutions.
One problem is the build up of minerals that clog the well screens and perforated liners. The incrustation can slow the filling of the well and tax the pump. If the pump is working to pull in the water and none comes, you run the risk of damaging the pump.
Solution: Slow the pump rate to keep the minerals from building up inside. Have the well flushed out so that the perforations and/or screens are clear.
Another is the build up of biofilm. This is a gel-like substance formed by bacteria. It traps minerals and sand and mud in the pores of the well and causes a slowing of the water supply.
Solution: Monthly chlorine treatments can kill the bacteria and keep the well flowing.
Wells that dry out can be due to the water table becoming insufficient to supply the wells that tap into it. This is a bigger problem because finding a better water supply could mean relocating the well or digging it deeper to tap into a better aquifer.
Solution: Re-drill it in another location. Digging deeper on the property may yield better results, but the deeper the well, the more expensive a project it can be.
Other structural issues can exist, too. If it is poorly developed, there can be problems with the borehole that has been clogged or blocked by debris from the initial drilling. The well drilling company should take care of this and make certain that the well is flowing freely, but if it isn’t properly done, then it can lead to premature well collapse. If the hole is poorly drilled, then collapse from the sides caving in can also occur.
Solution: Drill a new one and use a different drilling company than the first time. Sometimes the debris can be cleared out, but it may be more cost effective to drill a whole new well if a collapse has begun rather than attempting to fix that one.
Overall, a slow well might be due to a possible over-pumping of the aquifer—the well is using more water than can recover from the groundwater supply. This can be temporary due to droughts or a deeper well might be needed to tap into a bigger water supply. If there is a structural issue or a mineral build-up problem, then a licensed drilling contractor may need to evaluate the problem and offer solutions and estimates of the cost involved to fix it. Whatever intervention is needed; you need your well to be feeling “well” again soon!