Keen insight into correct well maintenance.

This well needs a little attention.
Well rehabilitation usually is done to correct past mistakes and problems. There are two primary axioms at work here:

  • There are no “magic bullets.”

  • Treat - then establish a maintenance program.

Maintenance can be established immediately on new wells. Maintenance is essential or else rehab is a total waste of money.

Maintenance monitoring and treatment as necessary is less costly and far less disruptive to budgets, operations and system performance than repeated emergency rehabilitation over typical well life (20+ years).

Pumps and motors benefit greatly from regular maintenance. Photo courtesy of California Institute of Technology.

Components of Maintenance Program

A preventive maintenance program can be established to limit or retard well deterioration as part of an overall wellfield and water plant operation and maintenance plan. The goals of the program should be a combination of:

  • preventive design and material selection

  • regular monitoring of indicators of possible well deterioration (maintenance monitoring) to detect changes that signal the onset of well and water system deterioration

  • preventive treatments to control well and pipeline fouling in its early “light” stages

What's a preventive well treatment? Maintenance or preventive treatments are those applied pro-actively - usually on a schedule and frequently at low doses. Rehabilitative treatments are applied after deterioration is evident and are more intense, use more chemicals, take more time and have a higher risk of failure. Many of the methods are the same, but usually are less intense in a preventive mode. Record keeping is essential to effective well maintenance.

Well maintenance is an essential feature of wellfield protection and management. What better way to avoid all the expense and grief of developing new wells or dealing with a water crisis next summer than to take good care of the good wells you have? Good well maintenance optimizes well efficiency and also water quality. Benefits include:

  • lower daily, peak and lifetime power use

  • longer pump and motor life

  • ability to use smaller pump motors

  • greatly reduced chance of well failure

  • lower well lifetime costs

  • fewer or no expensive “crises”

  • less likelihood of drawing in contaminated ground water especially during drought

  • better aesthetic water quality and more consistent total water quality

  • less impact on downstream treatment

  • often more water from fewer wells

There typically is a cost to “getting in maintenance mode” - developing a rational plan, determining what deteriorating conditions may result in problems, equipping wells for easy flow and drawdown measurements, and starting a regular preventive maintenance program. However, experience and calculations consistently show that these investments pay over a well's life span (actually within 10-20 years) in lower total costs and certainly in an evening out or “normalizing” of costs.