Skip to main content

Protect Your Private Well From Stormwater Runoff


Next time it rains, go outside and notice how the rainwater moves from roof areas, driveways, and other paved surfaces. Make sure this water is not flowing toward your private drinking water well.

As stormwater flows over the land, it can pick up debris, bacteria, chemicals, soil, and other pollutants and carry those toward your well. Sources of contaminants on an acreage might include paint, wood-sealants, solvents, used motor oil, and other products leaked or poured onto the ground. 

Fertilizers and pesticides applied to lawns and gardens can wash off with stormwater. Pet and animal waste are additional sources of contamination. Research shows that drinking water wells that have been inundated with stormwater runoff are likely to be contaminated with bacteria. Other pollutants also may have entered the well.

To reduce the risk of contamination from runoff, make sure your well casing extends above the ground at least 1 foot. Make sure water cannot pond around the well area. If stormwater flows toward your well, re-grade and/or landscape the area so stormwater flows away from the well. See the NebGuide “Protecting Private Drinking Water Supplies: Runoff Management” for more information. 

Sharon Skipton
Sharon Skipton
Extension Educator, Retired Water Quality and adjunct Biological Sciences Engineering Faculty Member
Sharon's main areas of interest and research were related to drinking water, onsite wastewater, and healthy homes, with a current emphasis on drinking water system protection as well as water testing, quality, treatment, and conservation.