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.


18 May 2016

Sharing the Family Farm with Siblings and Cousins

Hello, my name is Marta. I grew up on a family farm, and as a girl, I knew that I was not the front runner for inheriting the farm. I thought my parents would err on the side of tradition and give the farm to my brother. However, as we grew up together – weeding gardens, giving horseback riding lessons and driving the tractor – we found that we really enjoyed working together. We also found that we loved working with our cousins who lived on the farm next door. Ultimately, when our parents decided to retire, we all decided to share the farm. Through that experience, we learned a lot, and I want to share that here in this blog. Please, explore, enjoy and learn through our adventures in agriculture.