Frequent Questions

How can I identify potential sources of pollution for my private household well?

Private household well owners should conduct a survey around the well to identify potential sources of contamination. As part of the survey, well owners should determine if:

  • There is livestock nearby,
  • Pesticides are used on nearby agricultural crops or nurseries,
  • Lawn fertilizer is used near the well,
  • The well is downstream from a septic system,
  • The well is located near a road that is frequently salted or sprayed with de-icers during the winter, or
  • Household wastes or used motor oil is disposed of on the land surrounding the well.

In addition to the immediate area around a well, the owner should investigate other possible sources of contamination that may already be part of the community or may be moving into the area.


Consulting with local experts, such as the local health department, agricultural extension agents, nearby water systems, and local university geologists, can assist in determining potential sources of contamination.


Well owners should also attend any local planning or appeal hearings to learn more about the construction of facilities that may pollute the local drinking water, and ask to see the environmental impact statement on the project. See our What You Can Do to Protect Your Private Well Web page for additional information.

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