Roughly 500,000 citizens in Oregon use a household well and need to protect, test, and purify the water as needed to keep their family safe. A basic knowledge of well mechanics and issues will help property owners identify and solve problems that arise. Under Oregon law, ground water belongs to the public. Unlike the wells that farmers use, most residential wells are exempt from water right permit requirements. However, well water use is restricted in certain ways. For example, the maximum area that can legally be irrigated is one half acre. In some areas and at certain times of year, groundwater may be limited. Conserve well water by using native or other drought resistant vegetation in your landscape. Consult Benton SWCD for other water conservation practices.
Well Location and Tags
All wells, no matter their use, must be physically tagged upon the sale of the property. This is required by OWRD’s Well Identification Program. If a well has no tag, the owner can contact OWRD to obtain a form titled Application for Well ID Number. Then the owner, well driller, or licensed pump installer will attach the stainless steel tag to the well. Your well is most likely located under a three to six-inch pipe sticking out of the ground near the house. You should also locate the pipe that connects the well to your house so you do not disturb it. Private locating companies can assist in locating the pipe and the well.
Well logs are kept by OWRD to track the current state of wells, including dry wells. Well logs can be used to get information about groundwater in an area prior to buying property or drilling a well. The well logs record when wells were deepened, the amount of water produced, and the water depth. OWRD’s website has instructions on how to locate the well log for your property.
Well Testing and Drinking Water Quality Be aware that some problems invisible to the naked eye, such as hardness, high nitrate levels or high bacterial counts, require treatment to make your drinking water safe. Other issues that are more obvious may not be detrimental to one’s health and do not need to be treated.