How Deep Should a Well be for Drinking Water?

When it comes to drinking water, the terms deep and shallow wells are subjective. Consider the following scenario.

You have two different underground water levels in two different areas. Let’s name one area, “A” and the other one “B.” The water table in area A is tapped at a depth of 30 feet, and that for B, it is reached at 60 feet depth. If you were to dig a well on area A, 40 feet deep well be considered as a shallow well, and a well with 60-70 feet depth will be considered as a deep well. It will be considered deep because you are going way beyond the water level and tapping pure water underneath.

For area B with a water table at 60 feet depth, 70 feet well be shallow. To dig a deep well, you would need to go at least 100-120 feet deep to tap the water potential for water.

How to find out the right depth in your area?

You may want to know about the right depth of wells for drinking water in your area. The best way to know about this is to gather some ground knowledge. You can ask neighbors about it or consult professional drillers at what depth the water becomes safe and healthy to drink. The neighbors will give you exact knowledge as they may have experienced the problem of shallow wells and impure water and then dug deeper to get better quality water.

After reading the above example, the question that comes to our mind is, “How deep should a well be for drinking and other purposes?”

Well the answer to this question depends upon a number of factors. Let’s look at them below.

Well Surrounding – If the area near your well is neat and clean, you can also drink water from a shallow well. Make sure there are no animal feedlots nearby, which can contaminate the shallow wells.

Surface Contamination Risks – Deeper wells, as explained in the above example, are at far less risk as compared to shallow wells with respect to the underground water table. A properly built well with well casing and well caps protect water from contaminants such as sediment, heavy metals, and microorganisms. If a shallow well is located in the way of run-off water from rain or near an agriculture field, it is likely that its water is not drinkable.

The water will be contaminated with fertilizers, insecticides, herbicides, pesticides, surface contaminants, dust, dirt, and a variety of other contaminants. A deep well will have comparatively fewer contaminants because it will be difficult for contaminants to reach there.

The volume of Underground Water – A well will not be used for drinking purposes only. You will be using it to meet the other demands as well, such as bathing, washing clothes and dishes, gardening and other purposes. The well must be deep enough so that it taps a better water potential with more volume. You would need to check geological surveys, consult professionals to find out information about this.

well casings

Well Casing, Well Screens, and Well Caps – To maintain water quality, you must install high quality and proper length well casing. For a well of 100 feet, a 97 feet casing is ideal with a 3-feet mesh screen where water enters the well and is then pumped up. Installing a high-quality well screen is also very important as it is the main barrier between sediment and water. If there are creeks in the well casing, the quality of water will go down regardless of the well’s depth. A well cap is needed to ensure that no contaminants enter the well from the surroundings. It also keeps animals and insects away.

water purification testing

Water Testing – If you get your water tested regularly and everything is fine, the depth of the well for drinking purposes doesn’t matter much. EPA suggests that a yearly test must be conducted for bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms along with nitrates and heavy metals. A 3-yer test must be conducted on the water to check for arsenic, radon, uranium, lead, and fluoride. Bacteria and microorganisms can be treated by disinfection.

Final Words – What’s the ideal depth?

The above discussion clearly shows that there is no ideal depth for a well. You need to go 40-50 feet below the water level to make your well “deep.” The other factors mentioned above also impact the quality of water from a well. A well must be drilled at a place that meets all the drilling standards. You can read more about digging a well here.

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