Your Well, New Rain, And Years Of Drought: Is There Anything To Worry About?

If you look up what to do with a well that's experienced a deluge of water, you'll find lots about ensuring well safety after flooding. But what if the problem isn't flooding but merely heavy rains returning after years of drought? That's overall a wonderful event, but you do have to be on the lookout for a few safety issues.

Excess Agricultural and Urban Runoff

After years of no rain, you're going to have a lot of agricultural and urban pollution settled in the dirt. The heavy rains are going to wash that pollution away — right into groundwater sources in rural areas. Even if you're in a relatively clean zone, the water source is likely replenished from multiple points in the surrounding country (if not in multiple states, as it can be for larger aquifers). After years of little rain washing that pollution away in bits, there's going to be a lot built up. A large influx could make the well water unsafe to drink. You'll need to test the well water.

Mineral and Dirt Influx

Even if you've got the cleanest soil in the region, and the land surrounding the well's water source is pristine, you're going to have a lot of dirt flushed into the underground aquifer. This could temporarily make the water look and taste awful as well as washing in bacteria like E. coli from animal waste. Over the longer term, the excess dirt could start to clog up the pump. Testing can help monitor the reduction of dirt in the water over time (it will eventually settle toward the bottom of the aquifer or flow along if the water source is an underground spring), and an inspection of the pump to ensure it isn't overwhelmed by dirt is in order once the main problem is past.

Shifting Ground

Unstable ground is a common problem after flooding, but it can be an issue after post-drought heavy rains as well — but for a different reason. In flooding, the ground becomes saturated, much of the soil is eroded away, and the well pump may end up off kilter because of a lack of supporting soil. After heavy rains that follow a long drought, though, the problem is that the water soaks into soil that has gradually contracted and dried during those years of drought, letting it suddenly expand again. That can jolt the well pump and casing. An inspection of the well pump is best if you notice any noises, drops in pressure, or other issues.

After heavy rains return, you need to call a well company like Golden Gate Well Drilling & Water Conditioning and have them inspect and test everything. They may be dealing with a lot of calls, so be patient, but don't shrug off the need to have them come out to look at your well.