Private well owners in Peel are legally responsible for the wells on their property.
Private well water comes from aquifers under the ground.
As a private well owner, it's your responsibility to:
- Properly operate and maintain the well to ensure safe, reliable drinking water.
- Have the well professionally decommissioned when it's no longer being used.
A properly built and maintained well:
- Protects the water from potential contaminants both above and below the ground.
- Protects the people that use it from potentially serious health and safety hazards.
Peel Public Health provides information on how to test your well for bacteria to ensure private well water is safe to drink.
Private well construction and abandonment records
The Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) houses a private well database. This database contains well decommissioning and well construction records across the province of Ontario.
You can use an interactive map to search an address or area to see if there are any construction or decommissioning records at that specific location.
For more information visit MECP Well Records Database.
Private well protection and well interference
Our Water Resources team responds to public enquiries and requests regarding interference with private well supplies within Peel. We strive to meet regulatory compliance. We also ensure documentation of consumer complaints and steps taken to determine the cause of the problem.
We coordinate with external agencies as required and in accordance to regulations when addressing your requests or concerns about your private wells. If an external agency does not take the proper action to solve the issue, we'll do our best to find a solution.
If you're concerned about how nearby projects might be impacting your private well or have any other issues, contact us.
The Ontario Wells Regulation governs the construction, maintenance, and decommissioning (sealing) of private wells.
If you're building a new well, you must:
- Hire a Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) licensed well contractor to assess the best location for that well. MECP-licenced well contractors are qualified to perform any work related to your well and will advise you on the best location.
- Line the well with a watertight casing (well casing) designed to keep contaminants out.
A properly functioning well requires ongoing maintenance and protection.
Private well owners are responsible for protecting the well's water, inspecting the well, and regular testing. Protecting your well water helps to stop or reduce chemicals, fuels, and animal waste from getting into the well.
To protect and maintain your well, do the following:
Protect your well water.
If possible, replace underground storage tanks with above-ground tanks to eliminate the risk of potential spills or leaks and maintain your septic system.
Owners of private septic systems are responsible for the proper maintenance, safe operation, and repair of their systems.
A malfunctioning septic system can cause private well contamination and affect the quality of water in the well.
Refer to Septic Smart! for information on maintaining your septic system and helping to protect your surrounding source water, and ensure your septic system meets the requirements of the Ontario Building Code.
Inspect your well at least once a year at the same time you check for contamination.
- Be sure you can always access your well. Keep trees, plants, debris, and other obstructions out of the way.
- Check the well cap for signs of cracking or damage. If there's a problem, fix it right away.
- Check the sealant that's used to fill the space between the drilled hole and the well casing. If the sealant is cracked or has shrunk or collapsed, repair the seal.
- Check for a damaged, cracked, or dislocated well casing. If possible, remove the casing and examine it for holes or cracks, signs of animal infestation, or stains coming from the casing joints.
- Look for water backup or ponding. Sometimes contaminated water can flow backwards through your plumbing and into your well. Backflow prevention devices are available from a licensed well contractor or pump installer.
- Remove the cover from your well pit and look for water, debris, and vermin. A well pit can contain toxic gases, so do not enter the pit.
Learn more about managing a small-diameter well.
Test your well
The water quality in a private well can change over time. Regularly testing your well will help you properly maintain its water quality.
Harmful germs such as E. coli can contaminate your well. If there is bacteria in your well, it means the well hasn't been properly maintained, and the well will need to be disinfected and re-sampled.
Naturally occurring minerals can also affect how well water looks, smells, and tastes. These minerals can result in hard water, a rotten-egg smell, or staining, but do not affect the quality of well water.
For more information about well water contaminating and testing, visit Peel’s Public Health’s Private Well Testing.
To find a licenced well contractor, search the Ontario Directory.