How to save water
We are often provided with the following tips and tricks to avoid wasting water:
- Make sure taps are completely turned off to avoid drips;
- Take a quick shower rather than filling the tub for a bath;
- Fill up the dishwasher and washing machine before running them;
- Turn off the tap when you are shaving or brushing your teeth;
- Fill a pitcher with tap water and put it in the refrigerator;
- Repair leaky taps, showers and toilets;
- Throw waste in garbage cans rather than in toilets;
- Do not water asphalt and cement – nothing grows there! Use a broom instead.
- Do not wash your car in your driveway; go to a carwash where soapy water is filtered and recycled rather than disposed of in the storm sewers where it can contaminate our rivers. You can also wash your car on the lawn using a sponge and bucket of water.
- Repair any leaks in your garden hoses right away.
- Use a broom rather than a garden hose to clean your driveway.
- Collect rainwater in barrels. This reduces runoff and provides you with water for your lawn and garden.
- If possible, use porous materials for your driveway (crushed stone, stone dust or interlocking paving stone) to reduce runoff and increase groundwater levels.
- Build natural areas, flowers beds and gardens on your property to reduce runoff and increase groundwater levels.
Special Gardening Tips:
- A number of reasonably priced and efficient mechanical timers are available on the market;
- You do not have to set the water flow to maximum strength when using garden hoses and soaker hoses.
Water is natural solvent. Once it enters the ground, water may be affected by the materials or minerals that it partially dissolves. Water can therefore become ferrous, sulphurous or alkaline, affecting its taste and smell. A physio-chemical analysis will help determine the chemical composition of your water. If the water is polluted by industrial waste, pesticides, fertilizer, or other human by-products, it may be contaminated and extremely dangerous to your health. This is why bacteriological analysis carried out in a laboratory is mandatory for all new wells.
Water may be clear and odourless but pose a danger to health. It may also have an unpleasant taste but be perfectly safe to drink. The only way to determine the quality of water is by having it analyzed. This is why Quebec’s ministère de l’Environnement recommends that you have your water analyzed by a certified laboratory once a year.
The following tests can be done:
- Bacteriological analysis to determine if the water is suitable for drinking
- Phsyico-chemical analysis to determine the mineral level or chemical composition
- Laboratoire MicroB in Gatineau: 819-778-0020
- City of Gatineau Laboratory: 819-663-5585
Preventing water contamination
If the work is not done properly, your well may become contaminated as a result of:
- Cracks in the joint;
- Improperly installed casing;
- Insufficiently deep casing;
- Permeable casing;
- A source of contamination unrelated to the well construction (e.g. septic tank, livestock waste, chemical products used for farming).
It is therefore very important to ask for references for the drilling company that you have chosen to ensure that the work will be carried out according to industry standards.
- Avoid draining liquids, household waste and waste from manure piles toward the well casing;
- Do not use pesticides or fertilizer on the land near the well;
- Do not throw oil, detergent, paint, solvents or other chemical products in toilet bowls.
Maintaining your well
Once your well is operational, very little maintenance is required. It is important to be aware of any changes in water quality (appearance, taste, smell) and to have the water analyzed if there are any suspicious changes. The ministère de l’Environnement recommends that you occasionally check to ensure that:
- The slide is firmly attached and impermeable;
- Nothing is blocking the vent;
- Nearby surface water is being drained away from the well;
- There is no stagnant water near the well;
- There is no debris on the surface of the well water;
- There are no cracks in the well casing that would allow surface water or debris to seep into the well;
- There are no dead animals or leaves near the well.
Twice a year – in the spring after the snow has melted and in the fall – we recommend that you carry out the chlorination process in order to avoid bacterial growth.
It is also important that you be familiar with your well water flow, especially during periods of heavy usage such as when you are filling up a swimming pool. Close attention should be paid to wells with a slow water flow (less than 100 gph), so that the pump does not run dry and burn the pump and reservoir. Hydraulic fracturing can also be used to increase water flow in a well.
How to disinfect an artesian well
- Set aside a supply of drinking water that you can use during the chlorination process.
- If you use a water softener, set it to By-Pass so that the chlorine does not damage the resin.
- Remove the cover from the artesian well.
- Pour in 4 litres of Javex for every 100-foot depth of the well – there is no risk involved.
- Attach a garden hose to the home’s outside tap and place the other end of the hose in the well to create a closed loop.
- Turn on the outside tap and let the water run until the smell of chlorine can be detected in order to ensure the Javex and well water are well mixed.
- Turn off the outside tap.
- Remove the garden hose from the well and replace the cover.
- Turn on a tap inside the house (first remove the filter). Let the cold water run until you can smell the chlorine. Turn off the tap and repeat the process with every tap in the house.
- Wait a minimum of 12 hours (ideally 24 hours). This timeframe can be much longer since it poses no danger to the equipment.
Warning: Do not let the water come in contact with human beings or animals (i.e. no showers or laundry). Only the toilets may be used.
- Using the hose, run the water toward the outside of the house (outside the well and away from the septic bed) until the smell of chlorine dissipates.
- It is FORBIDDEN to use well water that contains Javex since the high concentration of chlorine is HAZARDOUS TO HEALTH.
- It should be noted that Javex may damagegrass therefore let the water run into an appropriate area (ditch). The water should run until you can no longer smell the chlorine.
- Turn off the outside tap and repeat step 13 with each cold-water tap inside the house.
Be careful! Water runs from a garden hose at a rate of 300-400 gph. If your well rate is lower, alternate between short periods and recovery time to avoid draining the well and possibly breaking the pump. For example, let the water run for 20 minutes then stop for 20 minutes.