Wellhead protection is the establishment of protection zones and safe land-use practices around water supply wells in order to protect aquifers from accidental contamination. It includes protecting wellheads from physical impacts, keeping them secure, and sampling wells according to the monitoring schedule required by the regulating authority. Before installing new wells, the local regulatory authorities should be contacted to determine the permitting and construction requirements and the required isolation distances from potential sources of contamination. New wells should be located up-gradient as far as possible from potential pollutant sources, such as petroleum storage tanks, septic tanks, chemical mixing areas, or fertilizer storage facilities.
Best Management Practices
- Surround new wells with bollards or a physical barrier to prevent impacts to the wellhead.
- Maintain records of new well construction and modifications to existing wells.
- Obtain a copy of the well log for each well to determine the local geology and well depth. These factors will have a bearing on how vulnerable the well is to contamination. Sample wells for contaminants according to the schedule and protocol required by MDE.
- Inspect wellheads and the well casing at least annually for leaks or cracks. Make repairs as needed.
- Use backflow-prevention devices at the wellhead, on hoses, and at the pesticide mix/load station to prevent contamination of the water source.
- Properly plug abandoned or flowing wells.
- Never apply a fertilizer or pesticide next to a wellhead.
- Never mix and load pesticide next to a wellhead if not on a pesticide mix/load pad.
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