Well treatment and maintenance
Whether your well is new or old, it requires supervision and maintenance.
A schedule for your well allows you to not only make sure your water is safe to drink, but also lets you keep track of your water quality over time. If your water quality changes, treatment options will vary and having the right information promotes proper well ownership and stewardship.
On this page:
For well systems to continue working properly and water quality to remain safe for consumption, we recommend you adopt a maintenance schedule.
Even if your water looks and tastes good, hidden contaminants could be present.
Having a maintenance and testing schedule for your well water allows you to not only make sure your water is always safe to drink but also lets you keep track of the water quality over time. Record failures, repairs, tests, and maintenance to reduce future repairs and unknown contaminations.
Contact us to see if we have test results from your well.
Visit the Well User resource toolkit for more information
When to treat
The best way to know if your well needs treatment is to be aware of your surroundings (new construction, flooding, etc.) and to get it tested once a year. Some contaminants are not noticeable but can impact your health. You may need to test more often if:
- The well has a history of contamination,
- your septic system has recently malfunctioned,
- family members are experiencing stomach illness,
- infants are drinking the water, or
- any equipment has broken or malfunctioned.
Visit the Routine Domestic Well Testing page for more information.
Treatment options range from removing the source of the contamination and shock chlorinating the well and pipes to more advanced treatments such as ion exchange or reverse osmosis. If water treatment is not an option, other options may include connecting to a new source, or constructing a new deeper well.
Visit the Well User resource toolkit for more information.
The Oregon Residential Landlord Tenant Act (ORS 90.320) requires that all landlords maintain their rental units in a habitable condition, including providing a water supply maintained so as to provide "safe drinking water." This means that the landlord is responsible for fixing or replacing the plumbing, or providing another source of safe drinking water if the well is contaminated. The Community Alliance of Tenants can assist you should you encounter any resistance from your landlord.
If you think your well has been affected by flooding waters, EPA recommends the following first steps:
- Stay away from the well pump while flooded to avoid electric shock.
- Do not drink or wash from the flooded well to avoid becoming sick.
- Get assistance from a well or pump contractor to clean and turn on the pump.
- After the pump is turned back on, pump the well until the water runs clear to rid the well of flood water. If the water does not run clear, it is recommended that a coliform test is done prior to using the well.
**CAUTION** Your well may not be a safe source of water for many months after a flood. The well can become contaminated with bacteria or other contaminants over time and cause short and long term health effects. Wastewater from malfunctioning septic tanks or chemicals seeping into the ground can contaminate the groundwater even after the water was tested and found to be safe. Repeated testing is strongly recommended to protect the safety of your drinking water.
If you do not have access to bottled water, the fact sheet "What to do when your well is flooded" can help you make your water safe to drink. You should follow similar procedures should any other disaster occur (ie: fire, snowstorm, etc.).