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New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services

Media Center

DATE: March 9, 2011
CONTACT: Jim Martin, 603 271-3710
Paul Susca, (603) 271-7061

Homeowners: Protect Your Wells

Concord, NH – Homeowners in New Hampshire are being urged to take action to make sure the groundwater that serves their water needs is clean and safe to use. The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services encourages residents to be proactive. Nearly 60 percent of New Hampshire residents rely on groundwater for their drinking water.

Groundwater is not often in the forefront of people’s minds. It is easy to forget about groundwater. After all, by its nature, it is underground and out of sight. However, groundwater is susceptible to pollution from a variety of sources. It can take many years for pollution to be found in groundwater. And, it can take many more years for the pollution to be cleaned up, if it gets cleaned at all.

How do you know if your well is polluted? Don’t rely on your neighbors! Even if your neighbors’ wells are clean, that does not mean that yours will be, too. Have your well water tested every three to five years for most tests, but test every year for bacteria and nitrates.

You can also do your part to make sure groundwater remains clean and safe to drink. Do you have an old well on your property? If you do, have the well decommissioned. This means that the well is sealed by being filled with grout, cement, or other clean fill, depending on the type of well that is being decommissioned. Contact a water well contractor for details or read the DES fact sheet WD-DWGB-1-7, “Maintenance of Inactive Wells and Decommissioning of Abandoned Wells.” Go to to find the fact sheet, or use a search engine to search for “decommissioning wells nh.”

Another way to protect groundwater is to properly maintain your existing well. Make sure the top of the well is at least eight inches above the ground surface. Check your well cover to make sure no holes or cracks are visible and the cover is secured to the casing. Make sure the electrical conduit exiting the well cover is secured to the cover. If your home has a dug well, inspect the concrete cover and tiles for holes or cracks. Dug wells should have a concrete cover that is difficult to remove by virtue of its weight to prevent children or unauthorized persons from gaining access to the well. Read more at

For additional information about wells, read DES fact sheets at

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NH Department of Environmental Services | 29 Hazen Drive | PO Box 95 | Concord, NH 03302-0095
(603) 271-3503 | TDD Access: Relay NH 1-800-735-2964 | Hours: M-F, 8am-4pm

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