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well is a direct connection between you and your water supply. Contaminants
can flow down your well as easily as water flows up it. The farther away
from your well you are, the more sand, gravel and clay there is to filter
out contaminants before they reach your water supply. For most well owners,
groundwater is their only source of water and should, therefore, be protected.
Groundwater moves very slowly, often only a few feet per year, and because
it moves so slowly, once it becomes polluted, it takes years for it to
be naturally flushed clean. Manually cleaning pollutants out of groundwater
can be extremely costly and difficult. Often, the only solution is to
find a new source of water.
protective well radius is a uniform circle around the well, which establishes
a setback distance from property lines and septic systems, and has a radius
of 75 feet for design flows up to 750 gallons per day which is equivalent
to a five-bedroom home.
For new wells, the protective area is required to
be maintained wholly within the property boundaries of the lot to be served
by the well. However, protective well radii may overlap onto other lands
such as: land that is protected by a recorded easement, land that is permanently
dedicated to a use that precludes development, or on land within a municipal
property line septic system setback.
of lands that are precluded from development include: wetlands, surface
waters, roads, and protected conservation lands where the deed precludes
development of buildings or subsurface waste disposal systems within the
affected area. Municipal property line septic system setbacks are minimum
setback distances from septic systems to property lines established by
local ordinance. Many towns have setback criteria that differ from the
10-foot requirement. These setback distances may vary from town to town.
good tip is to create a circle at least 50 feet in diameter around your
well where you don't store, mix, spray, spill, bury or dump anything that
you don't want to drink. Don't forget to look out for your neighbor's
well if it is near your property line. Any contamination in your neighbor's
well can travel into your well. Some activities legally require more than
a 50-foot zone of protection.
a general guidance, personal drinking water wells should have a minimum
horizontal distance of at least 10 feet and preferably 25 feet from such
boundaries. State or local standards may be less or more stringent in
your area. Contact your local health department for more information in