Blog by Lori Spada

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Well Inspection Checklist

Acreage Property Ownership – Wells – Checklist


Over the years, I’ve worked with a number of people interested in the Calgary  acreage lifestyle - from equestrian set ups to smaller residential acreage communities – but regardless of the type of property, you’ll more or less find the same components – septic system & field, well(s), cistern etc.  When purchasing an acreage property it’s important to have these systems checked out to be sure they’re in good working order and will meet your current and future needs.   

Unless you’ve had previous acreage experience, there is often a bit of a learning curve on what everything is, how it works and what the differences are. 

It’s not that easy to find information on these components, but I’d come across an informative Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) brochure on acreage ownership and many of my clients have found the information very useful in helping them get a better understanding of what acreage living is all about.  

As the resource is no longer available, I thought I’d share it in a “several-part” series on Acreage Ownership.  Bear in mind that individual properties, municipal districts and provinces have their own specifics particular to the area &/or property so this should only serve as a general guideline.           

The first in the series addressed the WATER SUPPLY – Well Type and Design – if you missed it, you’ll find it in a previous post on my blog or on my facebook page. 

This checklist of things to consider will help assess the state of a well.    


Well Inspection Checklist

The well should be inspected before the house is purchased. If there is a problem with the physical state of the well (for example, cracked seals, settled casing) contact a licensed well contractor to correct the problem. Check the Yellow Pages™ under “Water Well Drilling and Service” to find a local licensed well contractor.


Well record - Obtain a copy of the well record from the owner or the Ministry of the Environment. This should include: location of well, date of well drilling, depth and diameter of well, static water level, pumping water level, recommended pumping rate and the recommended pump setting.

Location - A well should be located at least 15 m (50 ft.) from any source of contamination if the casing is watertight to a depth of 6 m (20 ft.); otherwise, the separation distance should be at least 30 m (100 ft.). Sources of contamination include: septic systems, manure storages, fuel storages, agricultural fields (manure or fertilizer runoff), and roads (salt runoff). Wells should be located at least 15 m (50 ft.) from a body of water (see Figure 3).

Well cap - The cap should be at least 0.3 m (12 in.) above the ground. The well cap and seal should be securely in place and watertight. A locking cap would give some added security against tampering. Well caps are on drilled wells and well covers are on dug wells. Both types should be inspected.

Well casing - No cracks or settling of the casing should be visible. The ground should slope away from the casing.

Drainage - Surface water should drain away from the well and water should not pond around the well casing.

Well pump - The well pump and distribution piping should be in good condition.

Grass buffer - A permanent grass buffer of a minimum 4 m (12 ft.) width should be maintained around the well head. Fertilizers and pesticides should not be applied to the grass buffer.

Abandoned wells - All abandoned wells on a property must be decommissioned (plugged) by a licensed well contractor. Ask the owner if there are any abandoned wells on the property and if they have been properly decommissioned.

Inside the house - Check for sand or grit in the faucet strainer which indicates a corroded well screen. Verify that the pressure tank reads between 250 to 400 kPa (40 and 60 psi). Ensure that the check valve (or foot valve) is able to sustain the system pressure by drawing no water for 30 minutes to an hour and monitoring the pressure. The pressure should not drop nor should the pump start up during this dormant period.

Well Distance

Figure 3: Well separation distances


Now that we’ve explored how wells are designed and how they function, the next in the series will look at water quality and quantity.

If in the meantime you need more immediate acreage information, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me.      

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