Can My Septic System Contaminate My Well Water? | Affordable Sanitation

Can My Septic System Contaminate My Well Water?

You may be concerned about water contamination if you have both a septic system and a well on your property. While it is possible for a septic system to contaminate your well water or other bodies of water that are in close proximity to it, there are some simple precautions that homeowners can take to avoid this hazardous situation.

When Can Contamination Occur?

Septic System InstallationThere are a few circumstances in which a septic system can contaminate well water or nearby bodies of water.

  1. Proximity Issue-If a septic system is placed too close to a well, the groundwater may flow from the septic drainfield and infiltrate and contaminate the water flowing into the well.The CDC recommends separating septic tanks and leach fields from wells by a minimum of 50 feet.  Each state or county designates a specific setback distance for separation of wells and septic systems as well.
  2. Abundance of Septic Systems Near Well- Even if your septic system is placed at an appropriate distance from your well, the risk of contamination is still substantial if there are a several septic systems operating on nearby properties. The concentrations from multiple septic systems can combine to overwhelm and contaminate the ground and surface water, thereby putting your well water at risk.
  3. Impermeable Soil- If the soil on your property is not suitable for absorbing the water released into the drainfield of your septic system, or if the system becomes clogged due to improper use or lack of maintenance, the surface water and groundwater can become contaminated, leaving your well water susceptible to contamination as well.

How Can I Prevent Contamination of Well Water?

  1. Distance and Depth-Contact your state or local department of health to find out how far apart to place your well and septic system. The farther apart, the better. Additionally, the deeper the well is dug, the less risk there is for the water to become contaminated by the water that’s been treated by your septic system.
  2. Maintain Your Septic System– Be sure to have your septic system serviced on a regular basis by having it pumped every three to five years. Additionally, refrain from disposing of items and materials that the system is not equipped to break down. Misusing your septic system could result in backups that may cause well water contamination as well as other undesirable, costly consequences.
  3. Test Well Water-You should have your well water tested for contaminants at least once per year and even more often if you have a shallow well that collects surface water. If you suspect an issue, test the water more often as water quality can change quickly.

Affordable Sanitation offers septic system services such as regular pumping and inspections to help keep your system running effectively. With nearly 30 years of experience, our family-owned business is knowledgeable and committed to providing our customers with excellent service and advice. Contact us today to schedule your septic system services!


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