Are you digging a new well for your family’s water supply? How long will that take, and when can you confidently count on it being available for everyday use?

Different states have different regulations regarding the “Completion Report” when a well is first drilled. Some states require that a permit be issued by the local authorities and the well be drilled by a licensed, experienced professional.

But frequently, the determination of whether to stop or continue drilling is left up to the judgment of the driller, as he/she establishes and quantifies the amount of the water supply, expressed as gallons per minute (gpm), and when an adequate supply of water is achieved.

An adequate supply is based upon yield – the flow of water into the well, the number of fractures that are water-bearing (in certain types of wells) and the amount of calculated reserves of water, both in the well and in any available holding tanks.

The initial completion report will give you some of these features, with specifics related to the depth of the well, its initial yield, and a report of the soil and rock composition throughout the drilling process. In many respects, these reports are much like reading your drug prescriptions – largely illegible and generally incomprehensible to average Joes. They are filed with the applicable regulatory agency where the well was drilled for interpretation and judgment of acceptability.

To be acceptable for residential use, most states with quantitative measurement mandate that the yield of the well exceeds 1 gallon per minute for at least 3 consecutive hours. Various legislative initiatives have considered these guidelines, and proposed increases for future purposes. Most other Mid Atlantic states have no quantitative requirements for substantiating that the well will provide an adequate water supply.

Even fewer municipalities require that wells be tested in connection with real estate transactions. Further, home inspection requirements include no standard for testing the water supply, other than to perform a physical test of the interior plumbing system’s integrity.

How do you know if the water supply is adequate?

The easiest way is to have the water supply (i.e. yield expressed as gallons per minute) tested for yourself and/or your clients by objective, licensed professionals prior to completion of the real estate transaction.

While a family of 4 uses only 400 – 500 gallons of water per day, have a qualified test performed to safeguard your peace of mind (or your reputation as a realtor) and ensure that the water supply will be adequate for the new family in the home.

No one can or should make any assurances that the supply of water will be indefinitely reliable.

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The Well Worth It Blog is all about residential wells, why we love them, and how to keep yours healthy and flowing clean, drinkable water for you and your family.