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Buried Wellheads: What You Should Know

Buried Wellheads: What You Should Know

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 wellhead 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 wellhead, call an expert for advice.

At Blue Heron, we’re well-versed in all things well related in Bucks County, PA and surrounding areas. Here, we’ll discuss wells, wellheads, and what you should know if your wellhead is buried.

Buried Wellheads

Most wellheads 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 in old properties, the wellhead is buried. This is an outdated construction method and one you won’t see on new properties.

If the wellhead is buried, it should be raised 18” above ground.. Specialized excavation efforts must be made to find and uncover the wellhead.

Why Does it Matter?

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

The wellhead 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 wellhead.

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

How Do I Find the Wellhead?

In old properties, locating the wellhead 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 wellhead without damaging anything is to call in an expert. Professionals in this field are trained to find wells and buried wellheads. 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 once a year, and wells should be maintained as frequently. Regular maintenance ensures you know where your wellhead is and that it’s clean and clear of potential contaminant risks.

If your wellhead 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 raise the wellhead and cap.

Hiding the Wellhead

We get it. Wellheads are a bit of an eyesore. Americans pay thousands to create aesthetically pleasing outdoor living spaces. There are ways to hide your wellhead without damaging it.

If possible, keep growth away from the wellhead. Some homeowners are tempted to plant trees and grow shrubbery around the wellhead 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 wellhead back to hide it. Shortening the wellhead might seem the perfect solution to keep it out of sight. While it might better hide the well, it also poses a greater risk of the wellhead getting covered by dirt and debris over the years. Then you’re back to square one, trying to uncover it all again.

Contact Us for More Information

If you live in Bucks County, PA or surrounding areas like Wrightstown and have a buried wellhead, we invite you to call our team at Blue Heron. We will help you identify the issue, and the hidden wellhead, so the situation can be remedied. Call to learn more today.

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