Water wells are the primary source of water for many people living in rural areas. While cities and municipalities maintain public water supplies, it is up to the homeowner to keep private water wells in optimal condition. Water wells require regular maintenance to keep them flowing at a steady rate. A reduced rate of water recovery within the well can occur for a variety of reasons.
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Rate of Recovery
Depending on the casing and the aquifer, some pumps draw water quicker than the water seeps into the bottom of the well. The rate of recovery is the time it takes for the water level in the well to reach the original level, replacing the amount removed by pumping. In areas of new construction that require well drilling, county governments and lending institutions may set a required rate of recovery for new wells before issuing building permits and construction loans. This ensures an adequate supply of water for home consumption. Over time, a new well can experience a decreased rate of recovery.
One of the most common causes of slow recovery in water wells is a change in seasons that affects the underground aquifer. Rainy spring weather and melting snow can lead to a quick recovery time, while summer and fall droughts can lengthen the time it takes for the well to reach its standard water level. While this natural occurrence normally resolves itself in time, installing a cistern will reduce the amount of time you spend waiting for the well to recover. A cistern acts as a holding tank that stores the water for later use.
Seismic episodes and nearby drilling or mining may fracture the water table that supplies your water well. These disturbances may cause your well to go dry or increase the amount of recovery time. A draw-down episode normally affects several wells in the area that pull water from the same level within an aquifer.
Sludge is a common occurrence in many water wells. Areas with heavy silt, sandstone and limestone are especially predisposed to sludge buildup. Sludge tends to build up in a well over time due to the pump repeatedly pulling fine particles toward the well. As the particles enter the well, they fill in the lower portion of the well, decreasing the amount of water in the well. A professional pump or drilling service can measure the well to determine if sludge buildup is the reason for a slow recovery rate. Pumping out the sludge will bring the well back to its original depth and recovery rate.