Can My Septic System Contaminate My Well Water?



Australia is a modern country but the sheer size of the country means that as many as 103,000 people still need to maintain their own septic tank. In general, this is not a significant expense, other than the cost of installing a tank.


But, many of these properties are also unable to connect to the mains water supply. They generally rely on digging a hole with earth augers and creating their own wells. While this system works exceptionally well it, unsurprisingly, causes concerns regarding whether the septic system can contaminate the well water.


The good news is that this is not generally an issue. The septic system is sealed. Wastewater and produce arrives in the tank and are processed before the clean water is released and the waste is pumped out every few years.


But, there are some occasions when contamination is possible. It’s a good idea to be aware of what these are, this will allow you to take the relevant steps to resolve the issue.


It is worth noting that a properly positioned septic tank should be far enough away from the well to avoid any contamination possible. You’ll need to check your local regulations but the minimum distance is usually acknowledged as 50ft.



Although a tank should be at least 50ft from the well there are times when this is not possible. You may not have enough and to separate the two appliances by 50ft. Alternatively, it is possible there are multiple septic systems in your area and one of them is too close to your well, even if your septic system isn’t!


Multiple Systems

Even if all the septic systems are the specified distance from your well, it is possible that multiple septic systems can contaminate your well water. Simply, the presence of so many septic systems increasing the risk of one leaking or contamination reaching the well.


Poor Soil

Your soil should facilitate the drainage of clean water from the septic system. However, if the system isn’t properly maintained or the soil becomes clogged you’ll find that the risk of contamination increases. This is simply because the expelled water has to go somewhere.


Preventing Contamination

The first thing you need to do is ensure you test your well water daily. This will ensure you are aware f any issues as soon as they happen. It will also prevent you from drinking contaminated water. You should always keep a couple of bottles of water spare, just in case.


The next step is to check the distances. Making sure your well is as far away as possible from all other septic system s will help. If it’s currently too close and you have a better location then move it.


The cost of moving a well is far less than the damage that can be done to your health.


It is also essential that you maintain your septic system properly. This means servicing regularly and pumping every 3-5 years.  This will help to prevent issues that cause the wastewater to leak into the ground.


By Jesse Huges

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