Private Wells

Private wells can be owned by individuals or entities like small businesses, mobile homes, or schools. A well is considered to be private if it has fewer than 15 connections and serves fewer than 25 people.

private well

Unlike public water systems, the protection and maintenance of a private well is largely the responsibility of the well owners.

Private well owners should test their wells regularly

While most private wells in Wisconsin provide safe drinking water, some may contain substances that can affect our health. Many of these substances do not affect the color, smell, or taste of the water.

The only way to make sure a well is safe for drinking is to test it regularly.

  • Test for bacteria at least once a year.
  • Test for nitrate at least once a year.
  • Test at least once for arsenic (and more often if it is found).

You may want to test for other drinking water contaminants depending on the location of the well and the age of the property.

Test your well right away if you notice a change in the color, taste, or smell of your water. Identify your Water's Symptoms to determine which tests to do.

Private well owners should take steps to maintain the well's integrity

Like a public water system, a private well requires regular maintenance and inspection to make sure that it is working properly. Here are some steps that help maintain your well:

  • Work with licensed professionals and keep records of all good work and testing.
  • Ensure the well cap is secure and in good condition (no cracks, holes, or other damage).
  • Keep the area around the well clean and safe.
  • Make sure the ground slopes away from the well.
  • Avoid damaging the well casing.

Source: Drinking Water: Private Wells | Wisconsin Department of Health Services