Sharing the Family Farm With Siblings and Cousins

2 Reasons For The Contamination Of Agricultural Well Water

A farmer who chooses to drill a well for agricultural use as opposed to relying on the mains water system stands to enjoy a number of advantages. In addition to lowering water utility costs around the farm, such a farmer will be assured of an un-interrupted supply of water around the farm.

The only potential disadvantage of relying on wells for agricultural water is that well water often gets contaminated. This article discusses two reasons for the contamination of well water.

Wrong Choice Of Location

There is great importance attached to choosing the right location within the farm for the construction of an agricultural well. In the ideal situation, the decision on where to construct the well should be made in relation to the following considerations:

  • The nature of surface drainage around the farm
  • The location of storage facilities around then farm. (These facilities often house fertilizers and other chemical compounds that may contaminate water)
  • The location of structures such as cattle dips and septic tanks
  • The direction of ground water flow

For example, it would be a bad idea for a farmer to have a well sunk on the downhill side of a septic tank. Such a location would expose well water to the risk of contamination in the event of a leakage within the septic tank

It is important for interested farmers to remember that ground water doesn’t always flow in the same direction as surface water. A farmer needs to establish the direction of ground water flow before constructing a well so that he or she can know the direction that surface water contaminants will flow towards in the event that they get below the ground.

Sub-Standard Well Construction

Even with the right choice of location, the contamination of well water in a poorly-constructed well is often an inevitable occurrence. When a sinking a well, the bore driller will install a casing often made of steel (and sometimes plastic) in order to provide additional structural support to the well. Installation of the casing reduces chances of the well collapsing.  

Once installed, a small gap is left between the casing and the walls of the well. If not filled with concrete or cement, this space serves as the entry point for contaminated surface water into the well. It also serves as an entry point for contaminated groundwater from different aquifers.

In order to reduce the likelihood of well water contamination as a result of poor-well construction, interested farmers need to take time to identify a licensed bore driller with a good reputation and a proven track record.

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Some Diseases Identified By Water Testing

It is not just big companies that require the services of a laboratory to test water; people who own large areas of land – such as farmers or private residents – can also have the need to test any water on their land. Water testing is crucial before any further decisions are taken regarding what to do with the water. This is because there are a few unpleasant diseases that can be caught directly from the consumption of contaminated water. Let’s look at some of these diseases, which water testing can detect and identify.


Although more of a general symptom rather than an illness, diarrhea can be lethal if not stopped. In truth, ingesting contaminated water will almost always result in diarrhea, before another illness ultimately becomes clear. Diarrhea causes the continued loss of fluids, which exposes the person to dehydration; this can lead to death. Without water testing, there is no way to know if your water is contaminated or not.


Cholera is a disease that is always present in emergency situations, and is a world wide problem. It is technically a bacterial infection, which is located on a person’s intestinal tract. The bacteria attack the intestines, causing severe loss of fluids through constant diarrhea. Cholera is one of the most common conditions resulting from drinking contaminated water.


Typhoid is a fever that many millions of people suffer from each year. It causes painful headaches and a general feeling of sickness. It is common for a person to not want to eat when suffering from typhoid fever. While the disease can be contracted from contaminated food, drinking contaminated water is by far the most common way people catch this disease.


Although a little more uncommon, millions of people every year are affected by this condition. Schistosomiasis are basically microscopic worm eggs that inhabit areas of fresh water for up to around two days. Any animals, including humans, who ingest water containing these eggs will act as the host when the eggs hatch. Although unpleasant, the worms are not difficult to deal with when this condition has been diagnosed.

Testing Is Quick And Simple

Getting a sample of water from your land tested is simple. All you need to do is decide on a company to use, request a sample container, fill it with a sample and then send it back. The laboratory will use known samples of the characteristics of all of these diseases, and compare them to the organisms in the water. You will then be notified by the company about the contents of the water.

 Any decisions regarding what to do with any water can be made after the water test results have been received from the laboratory.

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How to Reduce the Risk of Well Water Contamination

Water is always a very vital factor for human survival; hence, the need to ensure that water in your well is not contaminated. Special considerations and care can help prevent your water from contamination, because wells form a direct path for entry of contaminants into the ground. The following are some of the considerations to protect your well water from contamination.

Consider the Location

If the location of your well is near a pollution source, then chances of contamination are very high if further protection measures are not adapted. To avoid such instances, make sure that the choice of your well location is away from systems such as a septic system or a livestock courtyard. If you have such systems in your homestead, consider having your well drilled on the uphill side of the systems, rather than on the downhill side.

The direction that a pollutant follows after it gets into the ground can be very different from the surface slope, thus different from the surface water direction. Therefore, ensuring that the well is on the uphill side is a safer measure in preventing well water contamination, as it prevents the pollutant from entering into the ground through the well mouth.

Consider a Deep Well

When you have a shallow well, chances are that the well obtains its water from just near the surface. It means that any pollutants from your home easily get their way into the well and contaminate the water. Also, when it rains, rainwater pushes pollutants into the well. With permeable soils such as sand, contaminants carried by rainwater get into groundwater within a very short period ranging from hours to days after it rains.

Therefore, if you plan to have your well drilled on permeable soil, the well should be more than 30 metres underneath the water table to reduce the risks of contamination.

Consider Other Existing Wells

For an existing well, location choice cannot be a consideration for avoiding water contamination. In the past, people used to drill wells in locations that were most convenient, rather considering water contamination. Over time, the location of the well relative to homestead practices such as livestock yard may expose the well to contamination. Drilling a new well may not be possible, perhaps because of the high initial costs or it’s simply infeasible.

In such circumstances, you can keep on testing you water annually for any further action. You can also liaise with the health department in your area to check if any pollutants have been recorded in nearby wells. In addition, don’t forget to consult a qualified driller like Milne Water Drilling after every ten years to check on the mechanical condition of your well and repair if it necessary.

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Choosing The Right Type Of Water Storage Tank For Your Property

A water storage tank can be a good thing to have if your area is prone to droughts or if you plan to collect rainwater for use in watering your lawn or garden. This can save you money on the cost of watering and also help avoid using city-supplied water, which in turn means less pollution created by water filtration plants. Once you start shopping for water storage tanks you may be surprised at the various types that are available to you, so note a few factors that will help you to choose.

1. Metal tanks

Metal storage tanks have the advantage of keeping water cooler if they’re placed underground, which in turn can mean less chance of bacteria buildup or insects in the water. A metal tank can also be the right choice if you live in an area that has frequent brushfires, as it’s less likely to be damaged in a fire than a plastic tank. For an aboveground tank, they may also look more attractive than a plastic tank, which often seem very industrial.

The drawback of a metal tank is that the connections may begin to come loose over time due to the pressure of the water or the ground (with an underground tank). They may also tend to rust or corrode after several years and, in turn, need repair work or replacement.

2. Plastic tanks

Plastic storage tanks are lightweight and easy to use, and won’t rust or otherwise corrode. They also withstand the pressure of water and surrounding ground because most are made from one piece and there are no connectors to come loose. Some can also be lined so that they can hold actual drinking water, keeping that water protected from outside contaminants. You might also find that there are more sizes and options available with plastic tanks than with metal tanks, as plastic is often easier to fabricate and shape than many types of metals.

One concern over plastic tanks is that they may tend to break down when exposed to sunlight and release harmful chemicals into the water itself. These are also less durable in case of fire, as plastic may tend to melt or warp more easily than metal.

3. Concrete tanks

A concrete tank is very durable but it typically needs to be formed and set on your property, which takes much longer than simply buying a metal or plastic tank. This also needs to be done by a professional, which can be costly. However, concrete lasts for decades and stands up to sunlight and fires, making it one of the strongest choices for a water storage tank.

For more information, contact a company like Williams & Jackson.

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