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Buried Well Heads: What You Should Know

Well Head

A wellhead is the top part of your well. It’s the most visible and something of a “tip of the iceberg” situation in terms of size and appearance. The wellhead is constructed of industrial-strength PVC and has a cap to keep the pipe clear of debris.

Your well head should be annually inspected for cracks, damage, and leaks, to keep well water clean and pumps flowing smoothly. If you notice anything strange around your well head, call an expert for advice.

Buried Well Heads

Most well heads stick up out of the ground. They’re easy to spot if you know where to find it. But what if you don’t see it? Sometimes, especially with old properties, the well head is buried. This is an outdated construction method and one you won’t see on new properties.

If the well head is buried, it needs to be uncovered. Specialized excavation efforts must be made to find and uncover the well head.

Why Does it Matter?

One of the questions we frequently receive about buried well heads is, “why does it matter if the well head is buried?” The answer isn’t so simple. While a well head may be buried for many years without issue, there’s always a risk of contamination.

The well head isn’t impenetrable. In fact, this is part of the well that’s meant to remain accessible to the property owner. When it gets buried, there’s a risk that things like home heating oil, lawn fertilizer, garden pesticides, and even road salt from the streets, seep into the well through the well head.

Not only is a buried well head at risk of debris and potential build-up and blockages. It could also lead to poisoned water systems.

How Do I Find the Well Head?

With old properties, locating the well head for a buried well is problematic. Some well owners recommend a metal detector, but this isn’t always helpful. As we said, the majority of the head is made of PVC, even if the cap is metal. There are also likely plenty of metal items buried in and around your property to cause a misreading.

If available, obtaining blueprints of your property and well location may also be helpful. At some point, you’ll have to dig to find it.

The best bet for finding a buried well head without damaging anything is to call in an expert. Professionals in this field are trained to find wells and buried well heads. They’re also insured. That means if something goes awry during the process, the professional’s insurance helps cover the cost of damage to your plumbing system.

Maintaining Your Well

Most states recommend having well water tested twice a year, and wells should be maintained as frequently. Regular maintenance ensures you know where your well head is and that it’s clean and clear of potential contaminant risks.

If your well head is buried, be prepared to unbury it. This is a bit of a process and requires a professional to dig up much of the piping and refit the well head and cap.

Hiding the Well Head

We get it. Well heads are a bit of an eyesore. Americans pay thousands to create aesthetically pleasing outdoor living spaces. There are ways to hide your well head without damaging it. Recently, casings that look like rocks and lawn ornaments have become popular.

If possible, keep growth away from the well head. Some homeowners are tempted to plant trees and grow shrubbery around the well head to camouflage it in the yard. It’s better to see it, than to have overgrown plants damage pipes beneath the surface.

Finally, never ever cut the casing of your well head back to hide it. Shortening the well head might seem like the perfect solution to keep it out of sight, but it poses a greater risk of the well head getting covered by dirt and debris over the years. Then you’re back to square one, trying to uncover it all again.

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