Protect Your Groundwater
John Island knows his one-hectare property in Mono like the back of his hand. Surrounded by evergreen trees, John’s home of 30 years has always been cozy, private and well protected from the elements, but he knew there was a problem lurking in his backyard. Sure enough, an old 1950s well encased in a concrete pit eventually resulted in a number of issues.
Over time, the well on John’s property became a factory of foul odors and a gravesite for local wildlife. He worried about the dangers it might pose to his family and his community. “If the sump pump in the concrete pit failed, this would allow the water to rise above the top of the well where the gasket could fail and allow contaminated water in,” he said.
After visits from multiple experts to assess the issue, John was directed to Credit Valley Conservation (CVC) for funding assistance to upgrade his well. To his delight, John’s project qualified for funding through CVC’s Landowner Action Fund. “This grant was the extra push I needed to move forward,” he said.
The funding helped cover the cost of filling in the existing pit, installing a bentonite watertight seal, tapering a mound away from the new above-ground well extension and adding a vermin-proof cap to top it off. These changes significantly reduced the risk of contamination to groundwater and local drinking water supplies. As a bonus, the new well looks much cleaner than the old concrete pit.
John feels at ease knowing his drinking water is now protected and is encouraging others with private wells to look into CVC’s environmental stewardship program. “Working with CVC was easy and friendly, [they were] always willing to assist in filling out forms and giving advice,” he said.
Private well owners are responsible for the safety of their wells. If you’re interested in how CVC can help you assess, upgrade or improve your well, contact a stewardship coordinator to get started, or check out Ontario’s best practices guide for source water protection to learn more about actions you can take to reduce the risk to your drinking water.
Interested in learning more about the health of your well? Sign up for our free webinar on April 12.
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By Sarah Peterson, Environmental Outreach and Communications Specialist and Justin Rai, Rural Residential Engagement Program Assistant