There’s no predicting how long a well will last.
“Some wells can last for a very long time. I have worked on wells that are so old they quit making the parts for them in 1929,” said Rene Arts, a water well contractor from Westlock. “These aren’t the norm, but I still keep a stock of supplies on hand specifically to service these older wells.”
If you notice a dramatic change in your water quality or a significant change in the flow rate of your well, you should contact a licensed well water contractor to determine what is causing the problem and what can be done about it.
Common causes of well deterioration include mineral encrustation, sand production, and biofouling. In all three cases, well deterioration occurs both to the well screen and casing, along with the surrounding formation itself.
“If it’s a broken part, such as a pump, you can generally fix the problem,” said Arts. “If it’s a hole in the steel casing and it is 100 feet down, you likely have to replace the well.”
If a new well needs to be drilled, choose a licensed contractor who has experience in your area and knows the local geology.
There is no simple, short answer as to how long a water well will continue to produce an acceptable quantity of water of good quality. Routine maintenance can extend the life of your well and understanding your well can help you detect changes in water quality before it becomes a more serious problem.
For information on topics such as well maintenance, how well systems work, and how groundwater affects them, go to Workingwell.alberta.ca. The fall series of Working Well workshops is just ending, but you can request one for your area by email or by calling 310-3773.