have YOU tested the water quality of your drinking water wells in the last year?
YES: Excellent! If you want any help on interpreting these results, other tests you may want to conduct, and different home treatment options to improve your well water, go to How to Interpret the Results.
NO: For the safety of your family, you should test the water in any drinking water wells every year for E. coli bacteria and nitrates. See What should I test for? for more information on these and other possible contaminants. You can also find advice on how to take a sample, where to take your sample, how to interpret the results, and on different home treatment options.
DO YOU HAVE ABANDONED WELLS ON YOUR PROPERTY?
Utah is estimated to have thousands of abandoned wells. These are not always easy to identify. In addition to being dangerous for pets and children, these wells provide a direct route for surface pollutants to contaminate groundwater. To protect your family, see the'Unused Wells'tab for tips on finding and properly closing these wells.
DO you have a well less than 50 feet, a dug or driven well or a well older than 50 years?
Many old wells are still being used in Utah. These wells were often dug by hand, resulting in shallow wells with a wide bore, and other construction flaws that put them at risk from surface pollutants. Go to the 'Well Construction'tab to learn whether your well construction is adequate to protect your drinking water.
do you have potential sources of contamination uphill from your well?
Your well may be one of the oldest elements of your small farm and may have been located according to traditional farming practices. New land uses around the old well may have introduced pollution risks. Check out the'Risks to Your Water'tabto identify and protect your well water from potential pollutant sources such as manure, fertilizers, pesticides, and/or fuels.
have you checked the different components of the well?
Even if your well is designed and constructed properly, it may require occasional maintenance. See the 'Well Construction'tab for tips on how to inspect and, if necessary, fix the different components of well.
is your septic system less than 100 feet away from your well or surface water?
Utah’s Administrative Code establishes minimum distances between your septic systems and your well. Although these distances are only mandated for new construction, they provide excellent guidance for all septic systems. (We recommend similar minimum distances to streams, wetlands and other surface water). Distance from potential source of contamination 15 feet from sanitary or storm sewer 25 feet from sewer lines 50 feet from septic tanks 100 feet* from septic tank drainfields * increase distance to 200 feet if your well is ungrouted. Learn more at the 'Risks to Your Water'tab
has it been longer than 3 years since you had your septic tank inspected or cleaned out?
A properly constructed and functioning septic tank will slowly accumulate sludge. Depending on the usage, the tank will likely need to be pumped by a licensed tank pumper every 3 to 5 years. A septic tank with little accumulation that has NOT been pumped for years may indicate that waste is leaking into and contaminating your groundwater or surface waters. See the 'How to Manage a Septic System'tab for more information.
do you ever pour grease, oils, household chemicals or any leftover medicines down your drain?
Septic systems use bacterial action to decompose household waste. These bacteria can become ineffective or even destroyed when overloaded or when toxic substances are flushed or drained into the system. Learn more at the'Improving Wastewater Quality'tab.
do you ever see evidence of standing or 'smelly' water near the septic system?
Standing or occasional smelly water near your septic drainfield is a sign that the system is no longer functioning properly. See the 'How to Manage a Septic System'tab for tips on protecting your drainfield.
> > More information managing Fertilizer for your small acreage farm
do you use fertilizers or other soil amendments?
Growing plants require nutrients and healthy soil to thrive. However, because plants use a fixed ratio of essential nutrients, nutrients in excess of this ratio cannot be taken up by the plant. The excess nutrients build up in soils and often wash away into streams or groundwater. This can lead to harmful algal blooms in local lakes and streams or toxic concentrations of nitrates in your drinking waters (see the 'Tes