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Protecting Your Drinking Water

Everyday, private well owners use groundwater for drinking water. Nothing is more refreshing than a tall glass of ice cold water. Often, we take for granted that the water we drink is of good quality. We often don't think twice to consider that nitrates, fecal and total coliform, manganese, iron, benzene and other contaminates may be in our glass of water. Septic systems, underground storage tanks and improper storage of waste, may have an affect on water quality. Though water quality in Bernalillo County is generally of good quality, it is important to be familiar with ways you can protect your well water for drinking.

Protecting and Treating Your Well

  • The plumbing and construction of your well are the first line of protection.
    If a well is not properly constructed or if the appropriate type of piping is not used, this may lead to the contamination of your drinking water. It is better to do it right the first time. Contact a licensed well driller if you have questions about your well and how you can improve the safety of its construction. 
  • Have your well tested annually for contaminants.
    If you have questions about what to sample for or about the results of a water sample, you can contact the Bernalillo County Office of Environmental Health  (BCOEH).
  • Chlorinate the system when coliform bacteria are present. 
    There are chlorinating chemicals that help to keep drinking water safe. If bacteria are found in your drinking water, you can take steps to correct the problem. Contact the BCOEH if you have questions about what type of chlorinating agents to use or what the process is for well and system disinfection.
  • Don't dismiss foul odor or bad taste of water without considering the possibility of contamination
    Strong odors in your drinking water can be attributed to elevated levels of iron and manganese and are easily treatable

Preventing Contamination

  • Identify all sources of potential contamination. 
    What is the location of your septic system on the property? Contamination is often caused by a source located on your property. Water contamination can sometimes be avoided or corrected by making changes to how often you pump our septic tank or how you handle chemicals. If you are unsure of how to dispose of household cleaning agents, chemicals, motor oil, or any other type of material, please feel free to contact the Bernalillo County Office of Environmental Health.

Installing A New Well

  • Permitting a new well in Bernalillo County. 
    Here are a few tips on drilling a new or replacement well.
    When you come to the Bernalillo County Office of Environmental Health to apply for a well permit, you will be expected to have a domestic well permit issued by the Office of the State Engineer. You can contact that office at (505) 841-9480 for information on what you need to obtain this permit. You will likely be asked for a site plan of the property including a location of the home or structure; the location of the septic system, if there is one; and the location of the new well to be drilled. This information can be a hand drawn topographical map of the property. There is a $25 fee paid to Bernalillo County due at the time the application is submitted. This fee is only payable by check or money order. If you are applying for more than one permit, a separate check or money order needs to be provided for each individual application. Please make check or money order payable to Bernalillo County.
  • It is important to save all records pertaining to your new well. 
    The well record for your well will provide information such as well depth, well yield, formation, and well construction. This information can be useful if you need to install or modify your well or septic system. If there is a water quality problem with your well, this information can also be useful in determining a possible source of the problem.
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