Many rural residents rely on private wells and cisterns as their drinking water source. In Hamilton, we estimate that there are about 10,000 private wells and cisterns in use.
The condition of water wells and safety of it's water is the responsibility of the well owner. Unacceptable levels of bacteria, such as E.coli can contaminate a private water supply and put the health of those who use it at risk. Even a very small change in the well's structure, such as crack or a change in the environment such as heavy rain can result in significant changes to water quality. Public Health Services recommends private well and cistern owners do regular bacterial testing of their well and cistern water.
For information about private wells, read:
- How to test well water
- How to test cistern water
- How to maintain wells
- How to maintain cisterns
- A public health advisory about lead in bedrock
- Well water after a flood
- Hamilton’s Rural Well Water Quality Report (PDF, 782 KB)
Contact the Water Wells Help Desk at the Ontario Ministry of the Environment if you have questions or are looking for information about:
- your individual water well drilling records
- materials for wells such as well tags, well record forms, homeowner packages
- licensing associated with well construction
- submission of completed water well records
- follow-up actions for well owners with poor water quality tests
- regulatory requirements under Regulation 903 (Wells) under the Ontario Water Resources Act.
To contact the Water Wells Help Desk:
- Phone: 1-888-396-9355
- Fax: 416-235-5960
- Email: WellsHelpdesk@ontario.ca
If you have an abandoned well that is no longer in use, check for funding to decommission your well. All abandoned wells raise health, safety and environmental concerns. Contaminated surface water, agricultural runoff and effluent from private sewage disposal systems can enter the groundwater through abandoned wells and cause pollution of other wells in the area used for drinking water.
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