Private Well Owners
Adopting preventative practices and measures on your property is a critical first step in mitigating contaminant release at your well site and in the surrounding area.
In 2005, BC's Ground Water Protection Regulation came into force. This regulation is designed to protect the quality of BC's groundwater resources and establishes guidelines for constructing, maintaining and closing water wells. Information in this section was taken from a Ministry of Environment pamhplet entitled "BC's Ground Water Protection Regulation - What Private Well Owners Should Know".
All Private Well Owners Must
Close or deactivate any well that is no longer in use.
- If your well has not been used for 5 years, it must be deactivated. Deactivation means that the well must be capped, secured, protected and maintained in a safe and sanitary condition while it is out of service.
- If your well has not been used for 10 years, it must be properly closed. Closing a well involves filling and sealing the well.
Install a cap on the well.
- If your well does not have a cap, a secure and pest-resistant cap must be installed.
Install and maintain a well identification plate.
- The well identification number must be clearly visible, and the plate must be protected from damage.
- If a plate is damaged or lost, a new plate must be installed as soon as possible.
- Well identification plates are available from the Ministry of Environment by calling (250) 751-3100 or (604) 582-5200.
Protect the well from damage.
- It is illegal to dump any substances into active or abandoned wells, including pesticides, fertilizers, refuse, and any other fluids or solid wastes.
- The wellhead and surface seal should not be tampered with.
- Protect the stick-up from any physical damage.
The following list provides several recommendations to help you prevent and eliminate potential contamination of your potable water:
Hire a licensed or certified well contractor for any well construction, service, modification, or closure works. Keep accurate records of well maintenance, water testing, disinfection and sediment removal and the type and amount of chemical you use, if any, for those purposes.
Ensure the top of the well is at least one foot above the ground. Slope adjacent ground away from the well to prevent pooling of runoff around your well.
Install a lockable well cap or sanitary seal to prevent unauthorized use of the well and to prevent the infiltration of foreign substances.
Inspect the outside of your well periodically for the following signs of wear or damage:
- Cracked, corroded or damaged well casing;
- Broken or missing well cap; or
- Settling and cracking of surface seals.
Ensure that your inactive wells are properly sealed for safety and to prevent groundwater pollution. Proper well head closure is critical! Contact your local health authority or a well contractor for advice specific to your well.
Maintain adequate separation between your well, buildings, waste systems or chemical storage facilities. Minimize activities around your well that may lead to damage or contamination.
Have your septic tank inspected every year and pumped out every two to three years. Never dispose of any hazardous materials in a septic system. Hazardous wastes are released into the soil through the septic field and may find their way into the groundwater system.
Keep a photo or map showing your well position relative to a fixed point. Tape this photo/drawing to your electric panel door for your reference or for future owners’ reference.
Avoid the use of hazardous chemicals including pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, degreasers, fuels or any other pollutant within thirty meters (100 feet) of the well head.
Never dispose of any wastes in dry or abandoned wells. These wastes will likely find their way into the groundwater supply and may impact potable water quality in neighbouring wells.
For Further Information
BC's Ground Water Protection Regulation and Well Identification Plates
Ministry of Environment
Drinking Water in the City of Chilliwack
City of Chilliwack
8550 Young Road
Land & Water Management
Watershed Management Section
US National Groundwater Association
Recycling and Disposing of Hazardous Materials
BC Recycling Hotline
Chilliwack Bottle Depot
45934 Trethewey Avenue