Well Aware is a program of Green Communities Canada, offered in Waterloo Region by REEP. The program promotes community awareness of well water protection through group workshops and well check-ups by our Certified Water Guide.
The workshops include:
- What makes a good well
- How to maintain your well
- How to protect your water supply—near the well and around your property
- How to find licensed professionals to work on your well
- Time for questions and discussion
Please contact us to arrange a booking for your group. The cost is $200.
REEP offers individual Well Check-ups to homeowners wishing to learn more about how to protect their well water and our shared groundwater supplies. The check-up is non-regulatory and confidential.
- Find out what makes a good well
- Determine how “well” their own well is doing
- Identify risks and priorities for action
- Learn how to take a water sample
- Get one of our Well Aware kits and a written report on their well
- Help us to protect Waterloo’s groundwater
Please contact us to book a well check-up. The cost is $250.
Well check-ups take about 1.5 to 2 hours to complete. In order to qualify, wells must be accessible (e.g., not buried under soil), on rural, non-farm properties without municipal water hook-up. We are also able to provide check-ups for homesteads on farm properties. However, we are unable to provide assessments for any wells located on the working part of a farm.
What does it mean to be Well Aware?
Being Well Aware is about making sure that the well water you and your family depends on is clean, healthy and safe. There are five key elements to being Well Aware:
1. Protecting the water source
You can help protect your groundwater by keeping contaminants (such as pesticides, fertilizers, manure and road salt) far away from the well, making sure the well has a vented, vermin-proof cap and keeping your well maintained.
2. Testing your well water on a regular basis
Regular testing of well water helps to ensure that the water you drink is free from contaminants such as bacteria, nitrates and pesticides.
3. Maintaining your well
Proper well maintenance helps to reduce the risk of contaminants working their way into your well. Give your well an ‘annual check-up’ and check it for signs of animals or insects, water seepage or cracks inside the well and any pooling of water around the well.
4. Hiring a licensed well contractor for any work on your well
Hiring a licensed well contractor ensures that any work done on your well will meet the Ontario Clean Water Act’s Wells Regulation 903. This is the best way to make sure that your well is doing its job to bring you and your family fresh, clean water.
5. Decommissioning any abandoned wells to make sure they don’t lead to the contamination of your active wells
Old, unused wells provide a direct line for contaminants to reach groundwater aquifers, which may include the aquifer your active well is using. Talk to a licensed well contractor to get any unused wells on your property decommissioned.
How can I get my well water tested?
The Region of Waterloo Public Health Unit offers free water tests for E. coli and total coliforms. Click here for a list of sample bottle pick-up and drop-off locations and times.
Well water should be tested at least 3 times a year, with at least one test in spring and one in the fall. Testing is best done after a heavy rain, which often runs the risk of causing the greatest amount of well water contamination if there is a problem with your well.
Are there any incentives available to help pay for well upgrades or decommissioning?
Funding is available for well upgrades and decommissioning both through the Environmental Farm Plan program and the Region of Waterloo’s Rural Water Quality Program which is delivered by the Grand River Conservation Authority. When combined, the grants available through these programs can potentially cover up to 80% of the cost of upgrades or up to 100% of the cost of a decommissioning.
To learn more about the Environmental Farm Plan program, please visit the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association.
The Well Aware program was originally developed with funding from the Ontario Ministry of the Environment.
Well Aware is endorsed by:
- Ontario Federation of Agriculture
- Conservation Ontario
- Canadian Institute of Public Health Inspectors of Ontario
Technical support provided by :
- Association of Professional Geoscientists of Ontario