Buying a Farm or Vacant Land Close to Burlington or Oakville - Well Water.
There are many beautiful country properties in the Niagara region and close to Burlington and Oakville. Some have existing wells which may require upgrading and some may require an new well.
In the case of vacant land, a well location will have to be chosen prior to choosing a spot to build your house.
There are numerous sources of contaminants for well water and all of these should be taken into consideration when choosing a site for a new well or when upgrading an existing well.
Purchasers of vacant land in the country or of country homes should make themselves aware of the possibility of contamination from any of the following sources before they choose a well location or sign an agreement of purchase and sale:
- Waste Products from Animals~Livestock and pet manure are serious problems when it comes to wells. The Walkerton tragedy was a direct result of an improperly located and maintained well which became contaminated with livestock manure run-off.
Review farm and kennel management practices by following the guidelines put out by the Ontario Federation of Agriculture. In addition, be wary of where you are locating your pet's run or a barn in relation to your well.
- Underground Storage Tanks~Underground fuel storage tanks may pose a particular hazard, particularly if they are over 10-15 years old and/or lack protection against corrosion. It's a good idea to remove underground storage tanks and replace them with above-ground storage tanks that have been installed according to government requirements and standards.
- Above-ground Storage Tanks~Storage tanks for any toxic chemical or fuel should be kept at least 50-100 feet (15-30 metres) away from a well, depending on the well type. This is a requirement under Ontario's Regulation 903. Tanks should have a spill containment system capable of holding at least 125 % of the volume of the tank.
- Toxic Chemicals and Fuels~Toxic chemicals such as pesticides, fertilizers, herbicides, oils and fuels should be stored in proper containers and well away from any wells. When filling your lawnmower's gas tank or that of any other machinery, be aware that one litre of gasoline can contaminate one million litres of groundwater. It's a good idea to refuel far away from a well and preferably on a hard top surface in case of spills. Clean up any spills quickly with sand or kitty litter. Never us water to hose down a spill !
- Gardens~Gardens should not be located near a well. Low-growing permanent ground covers such as grass should be planted around wells and fertilizers and pesticides should not be used anywhere near a well.
- Septic Systems~Septic Systems should be located down grade and far away from your well. The system should meet the Ontario Building Code and all chemicals other than human waste should be kept out of the septic system. Most septic systems should be kept 100 feet away from any wells in the vicinity. Keep your septic system well maintained and have it pumped it out every 2-3 years.
- Farm field run-off~ Locate your well a good distance from any cultivated farm fields due to the dangerous affects of the pesticides and fertilizer run-off on the people who consume the well water. Some herbicides leach into the ground water for many years after they are spread and the nitrates and nitrites from fertilizers can cause devastating, permanent damage to the livers and tender bodily systems of young children.
- Be Aware of Abandoned Barrels and Tanks~ Check for evidence of any abandoned tanks that may have been buried by previous owners. Look for pipes sticking out of the ground or other evidence that something may be buried nearby. Harmful liquids may leach out of corroding barrels and contaminate the ground water, including your well, in the vicinity. There are many tragic stories of people who have become extremely ill or died from drinking well water that was contaminated with chemicals which leached in from surrounding decaying toxic waste barrels.
- Road Salts, De-icing Chemicals and Oils~ Keep your well far away from sources of contamination that may come from driveways or nearby roads. These may include chemicals used in de-icing as well as oil leaks from vehicles.
When it comes to your family's health, pure, uncontaminated water is of a paramount importance.
Where you choose to put your well today will impact all those who depend on it's water now and well into the future. Choose wisely!