Any hole bored through the earth entering the water aquifers beneath Pratt County exposes our drinking water to potential contamination. Improperly constructed private wells may allow contaminants free access to drinking water.
Construction and location are the most important factors in protecting private well water. Private well surveys indicate about 80 percent of wells are deficient in construction or location. The location is the separation distance and direction from potential contamination sources.
The well owner or water user is responsible for the quality of water from a private well. Anyone who constructs (drills), reconstructs (repairs), or treats wells must be licensed to perform these services. Well owners of private wells can do the work on their own well without a license but are required to file reports with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE).
Obtaining and maintaining a safe well is not always easy, but the principles are relatively simple:
- Locate the well away from potential sources of contaminants.
- Seal the well against all pathways through which water and contaminants may enter.
- Select quality materials that will have a long life.
- Avoid, or carefully manage, sources or activities that may contribute contaminants within at least 200 feet of the well. In sensitive areas, increase this distance to at least 300 feet or more.
Finally, no well is completely safe and all are subject to deterioration and damage. Annual maintenance including checking the well, doing shock chlorination water testing and following the protection plan is the only way to assure the well will continue to provide safe water. If contaminants are detected, take action to locate the source, evaluate the health risk, and test more frequently to determine if there is a trend.
For more information, contact the Pratt County Extension Office, Kansas State University Cooperative Extension Service or the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE).