The National Ground Water Association released guidelines for dealing with methane, one of many potential water well problems for residential systems.

NGWA’s newest best suggested practice (BSP) document aims to help water well drilling professionals and others in the groundwater industry. It may also prove valuable to well owners, though the group urges professional assistance with methane issues due to health and safety concerns.

The document, “Reduce and Mitigate Problematic Concentrations of Methane in Residential Water Well Systems,” includes:

• Information on the occurrence and geological implications of methane

• Methodologies for well construction

• Well operation considerations

• Analysis methods for detecting methane in groundwater

• Procedures to mitigate the presence of methane

• Health and safety information relating to methane

If methane is suspected in a residential well, NGWA suggests prompt tests performed by a certified drinking water testing laboratory. The BSP reinforces that proper construction and maintenance of water wells is important to protecting public health and groundwater.

A group of NGWA professionals developed the BSP guidelines on methane based on extensive industry experience and research. Members can download the document, as well as other BSP documents, as a PDF through the NGWA’s online bookstore. Nonmembers can download BSP documents for a nominal charge. Call 800-551-7379 for more information.

Other NGWA resources help address the risk of methane and offer instruction to groundwater professionals. Check out the group’s position paper, “Hydraulic Fracturing: Meeting the Nation’s Energy Needs While Protecting Groundwater Resources,” and its information brief, “Water Wells in Proximity to Natural Gas or Oil Development.” Find both using the search box on the group’s website.

 NGWA is a nonprofit that supports responsible development, management and use of water resources. It’s comprised of groundwater professionals ranging from contractors to equipment manufacturers to scientists and engineers. For more information, visit