Wellhead Protection


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    Wellhead Protection

    Wellhead protection is essential to protect the quality of water from wells. It is your first line of defense to prevent contaminants from entering the water. Normally soil acts as a filter that removes many contaminants from water. This is one reason why groundwater generally is of good water quality. When a well is drilled it cuts through the filtering layers of soil, providing a quick path for the water, but also for contaminants if the well is not constructed and maintained properly.
    Protecting your wellhead is as easy as 1, 2, 3!  

    1. Install a sanitary well cap with a rubber gasket and a screen over the vent to keep insects and other small animals out.

    2. Ensure that the ground surface is shaped so water does not pool near the well but flows away from the top of the well. If the area of the wellhead floods regularly, make sure that the wellhead extends above the flood level.


    Good: The well is high in the landscape. The surface water drains away from the wellhead leaving little chance of contamination.

    • Fair: The wellhead is at ground level leaving a moderate chance of contamination from surface water.

    • Poor: The wellhead is at a low point of the landscape, which means surface water will run toward the wellhead. This leaves a high chance of contamination from surface water.

    3. Install anti-backflow devices on outdoor faucets to prevent contaminated fluids from flowing into the groundwater. The risk from backflow is highest when the end of the hose is underwater, especially when mixing chemicals.



      Wellhead Water Quality Safety Tips

    • Install a sanitary well cap
    • Insure casing extends 12 to 18 inches above ground
    • Insure ground slopes away from wellhead
    • Keep potential contaminants (e.g., fertilizers, pesticides, manure) away from wellhead
    • Test water annually
    • Keep records of maintenance and water quality 

    More wellhead protection resources:

    Well Owner Responsibilities (Montana State University)