What You Need to Know About Having a Well Drilled
Those residences that are not served by a public water system need a source of water for both consumption and daily needs. A private well most often fulfills these needs. While the cost of drilling a well is not a huge expense in the overall purchase or building of a home, it is a necessary expense to provide the residence with a useable water supply and it adds value to the property.
Reviewing Your Water Needs
Whether or not you have an existing residence or are building a new home, making a list of you known water needs is an important initial step. Questions that need to be considered and shared with the licensed water well contractor you hire are:
- How many people will be living in the household?
- Beyond the normal daily water usage needs, what seasonal uses do you foresee, e.g. lawn and/or garden irrigation, washing cars, filling a swimming pool, creating an ice rink, etc.?
- Possible geothermal demands?
- Emergency needs such as fire protection or possible water storage in case of emergency?
- Where should the well be drilled, e.g. in the middle of the front yard, further away from a septic system, etc.?
Typically, private household wells are designed to pump 10 or less gallons/minute. This is usually plenty for most home situations, but having a list of what all will place a demand on the well is important knowledge to have.
Hiring a Contractor
To accomplish this, the next important step is to hire a Nebraska licensed Water Well Contractor. Never be afraid to ask the following questions, such as:
- Are they licensed in the State of Nebraska to drill wells and install pumps? This is a requirement in the State of Nebraska.
- Are they adequately insured and bonded? Currently, Nebraska licensed water well contractors must maintain a minimum of $100,000 public liability and property damage insurance.
- Will they supply you a detailed explanation of the work/conditions of the bid/job contract? Details include, but are not limited to:
- Estimated depth of the well;
- Bore hole diameter;
- What type and size of well casing will be used;
- What type and length of well screen will be used;
- Approximately how long will the well be developed and test pumped?
- Will they provide you with a copy of the well log, well registration and any other documents from installed water equipment?
- Will they take care of registration requirements for the well with the Department of Natural Resources?
- Can they provide you with multiple references of past jobs they have done? If so, what is the overall reputation of the contractor being considered?
Don’t hesitate to get multiple quotes when looking to hire a licensed water well contractor, it is really no different than shopping around for a home builder or a new car. Make sure that you are comparing each contractor along the same criteria, this is where your list of water needs and getting a detailed bid comes into play. A qualified, licensed water well contractor should:
- be able to tell you if quality water is fairly easy to come by or is scarce in your area;
- be familiar with the geology and the static water level/water table in your area;
- be familiar with how deep nearby domestic wells are drilled and well yields; and
- know if there are any contaminants of concern in your area.
Remember that the cheapest bid is not always the best one and that references can be immensely helpful.
To Build a House or Drill a Well First, That is the Question
If you are building new, it is wise to drill your well first so that you don’t have a home built and find out later that you aren’t able to provide a good water supply. Once the well is drilled, you can then move forward with the location placement of your onsite wastewater system and the building of your home. This is not to say that one shouldn’t have an initial plan of where their well, onsite wastewater system, and home will be placed, but know that plans may have to be changed up a bit to accommodate the location of a good water supply, proper construction, and setback requirements.
Water Well Resources
For a list of currently licensed Water Well Standards Contractors by county, consult the Water Well Standards and Contractors’ Licensing Program website: http://deq.ne.gov/NDEQProg.nsf/OnWeb/WWS. For University of Nebraska Extension NebGuide publications on private well ownership, wellhead protection for private drinking water wells, water quality testing, and other water related topics consult the UNL Water website: https://water.unl.edu/article/drinking-water/nebguides.
This article was reviewed by Bruce Dvorak and Kate Pekarek