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Help! How to Select a Qualified Well Specialist for Drilling and Service

Unless you were raised in a home with a well, they may seem very foreign to you. When dealing with new “technology,” it can be nerve-wracking trying to find the right help when you’re not sure what problem you’re trying to solve. Don’t give up, like our favorite mechanic, we all find plumbers we rely on to do a great job for us every time.

Just like your car, a well needs ongoing, preventative maintenance to ensure it continues to work well and, most importantly, doesn’t break down at the most inopportune time.

When your well needs service, make the effort to find a qualified water well systems contractor. The National Ground Water Association (NGWA) recommends the following considerations when selecting a contractor:

  • If you live in a state that licenses water well system contractors, make sure you select a licensed contractor to perform the work.
  • Is the contractor certified through the NGWA? The NGWA operates the only national certification program for water well drillers and pump installers, who must pass exams and take continuing education courses. Is the contractor a member of NGWA, the nation’s leading association of ground water professionals?
  • Does the contractor submit well logs? A well log is a document (filed at completion of a new well) containing vital information on the history of the well and the ground surrounding it.
  • Does the contractor have adequate equipment in good condition to do the job?
  • Does the contractor have adequate liability and worker’s compensation insurance to protect you?
  • Is the contractor familiar with applicable health and safety codes?
  • Does the contractor have references you can call?
  • Will the contractor furnish a written contract specifying the terms and conditions of the job?

NGWA says this last point is very important. Unless you know what a contractor will do for his specified price, you cannot compare offers and decide which one has the right expertise for your job.

For a drilled well, the contract may include:

  • The liability insurance coverage held by both the owner and the contractor,
  • A statement that all work will comply with applicable regulations and codes,
  • The diameter and thickness of the casing used,
  • The type of well development and yield evaluation procedures used,
  • The type of screen installed, where needed,
  • The type of well cap or seal used,
  • The disinfection procedure,
  • Clean-up procedures, including all material abandoned at the drill site,
  • An anticipated start date for drilling,
  • A guarantee of materials and workmanship, and
  • A statement that the contractor will do the work and correct the initial work, if necessary.

When your well needs maintenance, have the contractor explain the problem so you understand it, then explore options for correcting the problem. They can save you hours of research.

Sometimes well owners get frustrated because they don’t understand their water well system and, therefore, don’t understand what’s wrong with it when service is required. Sometimes the well owner doesn’t ask questions. At the very least, ask the contractor to explain the problem or solutions. They have lots of options, experience and ideas on how to take care of your issue within your budget.

For example, over time the amount of water a well yields can decrease. Sometimes that is because the water table is dropping. Other times it can be caused by the plugging of holes in the well casing, mineral encrustation of the well screen or the filling of openings in the geologic formation around the well from which water flows. No one solution addresses all of these problems.

Working with your contractor to understand the correct cause or causes of problems can increase your confidence and comfort level in moving forward with solutions.

Source:  National Ground Water Association On Tap Newsletter

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