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Why Trust Diamond Certified Water Well and Pump Companies Rated Highest in Quality?

Photo: McLean & Williams, Inc. (2017)

You are the customer. If your goal is to choose a water well and pump company that will deliver high customer satisfaction and quality, you’ll feel confident in choosing a Diamond Certified pump and well company. Each has been rated Highest in Quality in the most accurate ratings process anywhere. And you’re always backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. Here’s why the Diamond Certified ratings and certification process will help you find a top-rated water well and water pump company and is unparalleled in its accuracy, rigor and usefulness:

1) Accuracy: All research is performed by live telephone interviews that verify only real customers are surveyed, so you’ll never be fooled by fake reviews.

2) Statistical Reliability: A large random sample of past customers is surveyed on an ongoing basis so the research results you see truly reflect a Diamond Certified company’s top-rated status.

3) Full Disclosure: By clicking the name of a company above you’ll see the exact rating results in charts and read verbatim survey responses as well as researched articles on each qualified company.

4) Guaranteed: Your purchase is backed up with mediation and the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee, so you can choose with confidence.

Click on the name of a Diamond Certified company above to read ratings results, researched articles and verbatim customer survey responses to help you make an informed decision.

More than 200,000 customers of local companies have been interviewed in live telephone calls, and only companies that score Highest in Quality in customer satisfaction–a 90+ on a 100 scale–as well as pass all of the credential-based ratings earn Diamond Certified. By requiring such a high score to qualify, the Diamond Certified program eliminates mediocre and poorly performing companies. Read detailed information about the ratings and certification process.

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Shane Ragan is a fifth-generation water well and pump professional and project manager at McLean & Williams, Inc., a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (707) 809-5945 or by email.

Shane Ragan

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Shane Ragan: Tapping the Wellspring

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

NAPA — As a fifth-generation participant in his family’s well drilling and pump business, Shane Ragan is further deepening an already profound professional legacy. “I was pretty much raised in this company, which was started by my great-great grandfather in 1949,” he says. “My grandpa started paying me to clean up the shop when I was 11 and things progressed from there. By the time I was 15, I was running my own crew—I didn’t even have a driver’s license! After all these years, I’ve grown to love this work and appreciate being a part of my family’s legacy.”

Today, as project manager at McLean & Williams, Inc., Shane says his favorite part of his job is taking on unusual or challenging situations. “I like tackling problems that our competitors aren’t able to figure out or just don’t want to deal with. That probably gives me the most satisfaction—coming into a situation where people think the job can’t be done and making it happen.”

A resident of Napa (where he lives with his wife, Rachelle, and their kids, Alyssa and Andrew), Shane says it’s a perfect place for someone in his line of work. “Here in Napa, we have great weather and an environment that allows for a wide range of systems and applications. We do a lot of winery and vineyard work, but we also service a lot of residential homes, so there’s a lot of variety, which keeps things interesting.”

Outside of work, Shane spends his free time on a variety of active pastimes. “I enjoy anything sports-related, from football, baseball and basketball to golf and bowling,” he says. “I also like going to my kids’ sporting events and watching them play.” Additionally, Shane and his family like to get out and about in the Bay Area. “We do a lot of exploring and enjoy visiting nearby beaches and national parks. Vineyards are beautiful, but when you see them every day, it’s nice to get a change of scenery.” When he’s not playing sports or out exploring, Shane can often be found working in his garden at home.

In regard to his professional career, Shane embraces the charge of filling what he considers some sizeable shoes. “When you have customers who know your parents or knew your grandparents, it creates some high expectations,” he affirms. “There are even a few people who remember my great-grandpa and have stories of when he took care of them or got them out of a bind. I clearly have some pretty big shoes to fill, but I get a lot of satisfaction from meeting those high expectations and maintaining our company’s reputation for quality service.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he could retire tomorrow, Shane says he would expand the scope of his regional explorations. “I’d do some more traveling and see some more of the world. In particular, I’m partial to locations that involve beaches and sunshine, like the Caribbean. I really want to see Australia, so maybe I’d go there first.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What’s your favorite sports team?
A: The Oakland Raiders.

Q: What kind of music do you like?
A: Country.

Q: If you could time travel, would you go to the past or the future?
A: The future. It would be neat to experience events in the past, but I’d rather see something new and unknown.

Q: What’s your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?
A: Chicken fried steak with gravy.

Q: What’s your favorite holiday?
A: Christmas—it has always been a big deal in my family.

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Monitoring Your Groundwater System


NAPA — While groundwater systems require ongoing maintenance by a professional manager, property owners can also assist with maintenance by monitoring system performance. This primarily consists of paying attention to unusual developments such as a PG&E bill that’s higher than usual or… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: Considerations for a Groundwater System

Complete Video Transcription:

NAPA — Host, Sarah Rutan: If you’re planning to install a groundwater system on your property, you’ll need to know what kind of maintenance it will require. Today… Read more




INDUSTRY INFORMATION - Napa County – Water Well & Pump
  • Goulds

  • Grundfos

  • Hydromatic

  • Myers

Know What You Want
Asking Yourself the Right Questions

When your prepare to install your well and pump in Napa County, whether you are in Calistoga, Yountville, Napa, American Canyon, St. Helena, or Angwin, Oakville, or Rutherford, draw up a list of questions. Having the answers to these questions will help you as you enter into conversations with your contractors.

  1. Do I want a Diamond Certified company that is rated best in quality and backed by the Diamond Certified Guarantee?
  2. Do I have overhead power lines that might be in the way?
  3. Are there underground power lines near my house and if so, are they near where the well might be?
  4. How much water do I think I will need? How have I determined how much?
  5. Do I have any neighbors I can consult about their wells?
  6. What potential sources of contamination are around? Do I have septic systems, sewage systems, grazing animals, graveyards, power-generating facilities, etc., nearby?
  7. What kind of land am I drilling in? Is it lowland? Close to the coast? In the mountains?
  8. What will I be using the water for: only for the house or also for gardening and landscaping?
  9. Do I have good elevations near my house where the well might be situated?
  10. What is the general terrain like? Are there trees or shrubs that might need to be cleared?
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What To Ask In Person
Personally Talking to Your Napa County Well or Pump Contractor

After talking on the phone, you should be ready to narrow your choices. When you are digging in Calistoga, Yountville, St. Helena, Napa, or American Canyon, or Angwin, Oakville, or Rutherford, you will find you have a few more questions to ask once you have reduced the number of choices. Some of the questions might include:

  1. What will my land look like once the well is complete?
  2. How tall is your equipment and how big? Do we need to consider power lines and possibly removing trees?
  3. Will you do the work yourself or do you have a team that does it?
  4. Based on your drilling methods, will we need a water source?
  5. How old is your equipment and is it in good working condition?
  6. When can you start the job, are there scheduling conflicts/limited machinery available?
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  • What To Ask References
    Questions for references

    It’s best to choose a Diamond Certified water well and pump vendor because all certified companies have passed an in-depth ratings process that most other companies can’t pass. If you want quality from a water well and pump vendor in Napa County and the greater Bay Area, you can have confidence choosing a Diamond Certified company. Diamond Certified reports are available online for all certified companies. And you’ll never be fooled by fake reviews. That’s because all research is performed in live telephone interviews of actual customers.

    If you can’t find a Diamond Certified water well and pump vendor within reach, you’ll have to do some research on your own. If you do, it’s wise to call some references provided by your water well and pump vendor. Keep in mind, though, that references provided to you by the water well and pump vendor are not equal in value to the large random sample of customers surveyed during the Diamond Certified ratings process. That’s because references given to customers from companies are cherry-picked instead of randomly selected from all their customers. So the contractors will likely give you a few customers to call that they know are satisfied.

    If you do call references on your own, specifically ask for a list of the company’s 10 most recent customers. This will help avoid them giving you the names of only customers they know were satisfied.

    1. Were you satisfied with the well and water system installed? If not, which part dissatisfied you and why?
    2. Did the contractor seem knowledgeable about the area and other wells in the area?
    3. If your land is close to mine, what water quality did you encounter and who had your water tested – you or your contractor?
    4. How long did it take to drill your well?
    5. Did your well contractor also install your pump?
    6. Is your land close to my land and of a similar type?(lowland, mountain, etc.)
    7. What kind of method was used to dig your well? (rotary, air rotary, cable tool, etc.)
    8. What was your land like after the well was built?
    9. Did you have any other water system installed besides the well and pump? Can you describe it?
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  • Review Your Options
    Now That You’ve Found Your Napa County Contractor

    The Diamond Certified symbol has been awarded to companies that scored Highest in Quality in an accurate ratings process.

    The daily work with your contractor should not be too onerous once the hole is actually started. Well location is one thing you should discuss. Consider whether the contractor will be able to get his or her equipment to the location – are there obstacles? Use your contractor’s local knowledge of existing wells, region geology, and general expertise to discuss where to locate the well. Keep in mind that the well should be elevated relative to the rest of the ground. Also keep in mind distances to the point of use so that you can reduce pumping and piping when possible. You are hiring your contractor for his or her expertise, so once you have found someone you trust, treat their advice accordingly.

    To Make Your Contractor’s Job Easier
    Don’t be too rigid – wells are an inexact science, and you may need to modify the original agreement. For example, if you have a depth clause in the contract, you may not find water at that depth. Know that you are working with an unpredictable situation; be flexible when appropriate. Be available so that your contractor can get in touch with you when conditions change or decisions are required. Do not try to get your contractor to promise that he or she will find water.

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  • How To Work With
    Making Your Napa County Water Well or Pump Contractor Want to Work With You

    You will attract the best contractors if you can bring knowledge of your land and buildings to the table. Begin by identifying your land. The state has a specific way of identifying land plots. You can ask your contractor if this is information he or she will help you uncover.

    Of course, finding out if your area requires a permit is one of the first things you should do. Find out whether your contractor will help with permitting or not. Determine how much water you need and for what uses, i.e. whether house only or house and landscaping. If there are existing pipes to the house, find out their size, what materials they are made of, and how far they reach. Be alert to any sources of contamination on or near your land – pastures, sewage systems, sewers, etc.

    When working with your pump contractor, you’ll need information supplied by the well contractor, starting with the pump test results. Be able to give the depth of your well – how far down do you have to go to reach water. You’ll need to know how much water you want and how much water your well is capable of producing. Think about power sources. Consider whether you would like an alternate pump – for example, a manual pump – installed as backup. If there are existing pipes, know their length and size. Be aware that beyond a pump and power source, you may need a tank for storage and pressure, valves to prevent backwashing into the well, or other water system components. Ask if your pump contractor also provides water conditioning and water softening. You won’t know if you need these until you test the water, but you’ll know if you need to find someone else to perform these tasks if you do happen to need them.



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  • Be a Good Customer
    How Can You Be a Good Water Well and Pump Customer?

    It’s the water well and pump vendor’s responsibility put in quality water wells and pumps using the best possible installation techniques. But you play a big part in the success of your water well and pump, too. Here are a few simple steps you can take to be a good customer when hiring a Napa County water well and pump vendor.

    • Be clear and upfront with the water well and pump vendor. Let them know what you want from your water well and pump, the long-term outcome you’re expecting and specific ways they can satisfy your expectations.
    • Remember, a friendly smile goes a long way!
    • Before you hire a water well and pump vendor in Napa County, restate your expectations and goals, and reiterate to the water well and pump vendor representative your understanding of the agreement. Most problems with local water well and pump vendors occur because of a breakdown in communication. By being clear about your expectations and theirs, you can avoid most conflicts.
    • Ask your water well and pump vendor if you should call to check on the progress or if he will call you with updates.
    • Be sure your service representative has a phone number where they can reach you at all times while they’re building and installing your water well and pump. The work will move along more smoothly if your water well and pump vendor can reach you for any necessary updates, questions or work authorizations.
    • When your contractor contacts you, return calls promptly to keep the water well and pump vendor on schedule.
    • Pay for the water well and pump vendor’s work promptly.

    Why would you want to be a good customer? Water well and pump vendors in Napa County appreciate customers who are straightforward, honest and easy to work with. Your good customer behavior sets the tone from your end and creates an environment conducive to a good relationship. Things may very well go smoother and any problems may be more easily resolved.

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Check The Work
Use the Invoice to Check Your Napa County Water Well or Pump Contractor’s Work

There are a few things you can do to verify that the well is going as described. Outside of working hours, you can check the well depth by dropping down a weighted string to see how deep the hole is. As materials arrive, verify that the materials provided are as described – a plastic casing where a plastic casing was stipulated. If there are differences you should ask why. You should not accept any materials that look damaged or secondhand. You want your well to work properly for a long time.

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Written Warranties
Requesting Written Warranties From Your Napa County Contractor

The detailed contract from your water well contractor should include a guarantee of workmanship and materials. Understand what the workmanship part includes – what if you find particles in your well later? How much later? If your water well contractor is providing services for water quality testing, understand exactly what is included. Is it testing only or remediation as well? If remediation, how long are those services guaranteed? The length is especially important since water quality may change over time. The firm that supplies your pump should provide a written warranty describing how long the pump is covered and what is covered – just factory defects or are use conditions covered? The pump installer should provide a warranty for the service performed.

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Top 10 Requests
Top Service Requests

Water well and pump contractors have a pretty straightforward set of requirements. Users want water running smoothly to their houses. To achieve this, you may be able to go to a single provider who digs the well and installs any related water storage systems. Or you may have to go to several vendors. Here are some common service requests related to wells and pumps.

Water Quality Testing
Well water needs to be tested when it is first drawn and over time. Initial testing can tell you if you need to take remedial steps because of elements in the water. Bacteria and other elements may be naturally occurring. The water composition may be hard, and you may want to introduce water softening systems. Over time, test when your water seems to change significantly. Also test on a regular schedule for bacteria and chemical composition.

Water Level Test
The water level is where the water appears inside the well. This may fluctuate, for example, with the seasons. However, as part of your pump test, you should note the water level over time to see if there is any danger of the pump going dry.

New Well
Install a new well so that the house has water.

Destroy Well
When a well is no longer producing or needed, it should be destroyed. The destruction must be performed by a licensed contractor and reported to the state.

Clean Well
On a periodic basis, you should clean your well to keep it free of particles that may have loosened or entered over time.

Pump Test
A pump test determines the capacity of the pump to produce water. Performed when the well is first dug, it is used to determine which size pump to install. Perform on a regular basis to determine if pump is still at capacity and if water level is significantly changing.

Modify Well
Modifying an existing well could mean that you dig deeper, in cases where the water table has lowered. You should know that the state of California treats modifying a well the same way as digging a new well, in terms of permits required and standards enforced.

Install Pump
The pump moves the water from the well to the point of use. A new pump is installed based on how much water it is expected to generate.

Water Systems
Sometimes the owner needs more than a pump to get water to the house. For example, you may need pressurized storage tanks to help move water smoothly through the pipes. You should discuss with your well contractor and your pump provider whether additional water systems devices are needed and the benefits of each.

Repair Pump
Sometimes the pump needs repair, perhaps because there are particles in the water that have got into the pump. The repair should be done by a licensed contractor, and you should clean the well after work is done on it, so that contaminants are not introduced.

Top 10 Brand Requests
The kind of pump you install will depend on the kind of well that is dug. Manufacturers often make many different types of pumps. Below are some of the commonly available brands for pumps and water systems.

Goulds Pumps
Goulds Pumps include many different types of pumps, including submersibles. It has been spun off from its parent ITT.

Submersible, shallow well jet pumps, and convertible well jet pumps. From Wayne Water Systems.

Franklin Electric
Submersible and jet pumps, among others.

Norwesco’s line of tanks includes above ground cisterns and below ground cisterns. It’s storage tanks are supplemented by values, fittings, lids, and couplers.

Amtrol offers many tank lines. Its lines include Well-X-Trol, Champion, Pro-Line, Value-Well, along with tank boosters. Pre-pressurized tanks and diaphragm tanks are available.

Blue Angel Pumps
Submersible, shallow well jet pumps, and convertible well jet pumps. From Wayne Water Systems.

From Pentair, the Berkeley brand offers many different types of pumps and accessories.

Xerxes sells tanks and accessories. It includes a tank labeled for potable water. It is a ZCL Company.

Grundfos offers a wide selection of pumps, including submersibles, jet pumps, and booster pumps.

From Pentair, the Sta-Rite brand includes jet pumps, submersible pumps, tanks, and pump accessories.

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Glossary Of Terms
Glossary of Terms for Clients of Water Well and Water Pump Installation Contractors in Napa County

Below you will find some terms to help you understand where your water comes from and how your well and pump operate.

aeration zone
The aeration zone sits above the saturated zone and just under the earth’s surface. In the aeration zone, some spaces between rock and soil particles contain water, but the spaces are not totally saturated and cannot sustain a well.

Also known as: vadose zone, unsaturated zone

annular space
The annular space is the space between the well’s casing and the walls of the hole bored to create the well. There are regulations on the size of the annular space. There are also regulations, depending on the depth of the well, on filling, or grouting, the annular space to a certain depth to prevent contamination.

Also known as: annulus

Geological matter that is impermeable and does not allow or hinders to the passage of groundwater.

A geological structure underground that has the capacity to store and release water.

A technique used to direct surface water into the aquifer. The purpose is to store water in the aquifer for future use.

Also known as: aquifer storage and retrieval

artesian aquifer
A confined aquifer is one in which clay, dense rock, or other impermeable compounds hold the groundwater in place.

Also known as: confined aquifer, pressure aquifer

artesian well
An artesian well is one in which the natural pressure makes water in the well rise above the top of the aquifer. When the water in an artesian well reaches the surface of the land, it is called a flowing artesian well.

artificial recharge
Methods of storing water in the groundwater supply. Techniques may include irrigation or infiltration from a lake, stream, or well. It is a super set that includes ARS.

Baseflow occurs when groundwater moves into a lake, stream, river, wetland, or other water feature on the land surface.

Brackish water is a combination of salt and fresh water.

capillary water
Capillary water is water drawn up from the water table saturation zone to the aeration zone, using capillary action.

The casing is the tube used to form the walls of the well. It can be plastic, concrete, steel. Be sure the casing material and thickness is identified in your contract.

cone of depression
A cone of depression is an underground area around a well that was previously part of the saturated area. Due to factors including how much water is pumped by the well, the area is no longer saturated and forms a cone shape.

Depletion occurs when water is taken from a reservoir or from groundwater faster than it is replaced.

drainage basin
A drainage basin refers to the area from which runoff drains into a channel, reservoir, stream, lake, or other body of water.

Also known as: watershed

Drawdown occurs when the groundwater level drops as a result of pumping.

Filtering refers to the soil’s capacity to reduce the presence of substances using various methods. Sometimes solid particles are captured, other times elements are trapped on the surface of soil particles, and sometimes microbes can transform chemicals through biological processing.

When you drink water that is not filtered or chlorinated, you run the risk of being infected by the Giardia Intestinalis parasite. Symptoms include nausea, pain in the abdomen, and diarrhea and constipation, alternately.

In the saturation zone, the water found between particles and cracks in rocks.

groundwater under the direct influence of surface water
When groundwater is under the direct influence of surface water, it is so near a river, lake, or other surface water that it can receive discharge directly from that source. This causes a possibility of contaminants from the surface water.

Grouting refers to the process of sealing the annulus. California law stipulates how deep the grouting must go for different kinds of wells.

Also known as: sealing the annular gap

Refers to how strong a concentration of calcium, magnesium, or other alkaline salts is found in the water.

Movement of water from the surface to the layers below.

jet pump
A jet pump sits above the well and can be placed in the home or in a well house. Jet pumps use suction to move the water from the well. Jet pumps are used for shallow wells (25 feet or less). There are also jet pumps designed specifically for deeper wells (deeper than 25 feet).

potable water
Water that can be drunk without adverse effects.

pressure tank
A pressure tank is part of a water system. It is a container that holds both water and air. In the better quality pressurized tanks, the air is separated from the water with a bladder or diaphragm, or other device. This physical separation prevents the water from absorbing all the air, making the tank waterlogged. The air pressure in the tank is used to help move water through the pipes.

Also known as: pressurized tank, bladder tank

septic system
In a septic system, wastewater and sewage from the household are treated by separating the solids, which settle in a tank and decompose, from the liquid. Liquid is then absorbed by a drainage field.

Also known as: onsite wastewater treatment

surface water
Includes lakes, streams, rivers, floodwater, runoff, ponds – any water that is on top of the land, not under it.

submersible pump
A submersible pump is one in which the pump is placed inside the well’s casing so that it reaches to the top of the water.

water quality indicators
Water quality indicators refer to the findings from studying the chemical and biological composition of a water sample. In California, licensed laboratories conduct water quality tests.

Also known as: WQI

water table
The water table is point where saturation begins. It is the surface of the saturation zone.

water use
Refers to water that is dedicated to a specific use, such as irrigation, livestock use, or industrial processing. Water use also encompasses the cycle through which human consumption removes water from the earth and employs that water. Water use can affect the hydrologic cycle.

An excavation by one of several methods that is used to draw water from underground to the surface of the earth.

Also known as: water well

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Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions for Water Well and Water Pump Installation Contractors in Napa County

Q: Why choose a Diamond Certified Water Wells and Pumps Vendor?
A: Diamond Certified helps you choose a water well and pump vendor with confidence by offering a list of top-rated local companies who have passed the country’s most in-depth rating process. Only water well and pump vendor rated Highest in Quality earn the prestigious Diamond Certified award. Most companies can’t pass the ratings. American Ratings Corporation also monitors every Diamond Certified company with ongoing research and ratings. And your purchase is backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. So you’ll feel confident choosing a Diamond Certified water well and pump vendor.

Q: Why does my pump not produce as much water as in the past?
A: There can be a couple of reasons for a pump producing less water. If your region is undergoing drought, the water table may have dropped. Or, water may be blocked from entering the well by blocked screens. To solve the problem – other than drought – a water well contractor can clean the well. Cleaning may consist of using chemicals to dissolve slime or scale. Your contractor may use a brush to clean the well or may use a high-pressure technique or well surging to clean the well. A combination of methods may also be employed.

Q: Does using a well affect my normal tasks?
A: It could. When you have well water, you need to be constantly aware of preventing pollutants from entering the groundwater system. For example, if you are mixing chemicals, or cleaning paint, or performing similar tasks, do not put the hose itself inside the mixing container. This can pull chemicals into the water system. Instead, the hose head should always be kept out of the container and away from contact with any mixtures that contain elements you do not want in your drinking water.

Q: Why am I losing water pressure in the house?
A: There can be several reasons for loss of water pressure. One problem is the build up of scale in the pipes from hard water. If hard water is not the culprit, you can look at adding devices to your water system. You can add an additional pressure tank to store more water in the short term. You can also install a constant pressure valve between a pressure tank and the pump to regulate the flow of water. You can also install a variable speed pump that increases pumping based on demand. Stopping and starting are some of the major factors for pump burnout, so if you look for a variable pump, look for one with a slow start, which reduces the force on the pump and piping and can get rid of power surges.

Q: Who is responsible for the water quality in my well?
A: Ultimately, the private well owner is responsible for the water quality in the well. You should test as the well is being dug so that you know your water’s chemical and bacteriological composition. You then can take remediating steps as needed. You should test your water if you notice a significant change in taste or appearance. You should regularly test for bacteria and for chemicals, once a year for bacteria, and maybe once every five years for chemicals.

Q: My area has just suffered a flood. Does it matter to my well?
A: Yes, a flooded well may be contaminated by polluted water. You should not use the water for drinking or washing. You should get a contractor to clean the pump and after turning it back on, you should pump until the water is clear. If the water does not clear, you need to contact your state or local health department for advice.

Q: Where do contaminants in my water come from?
A: Some chemicals and minerals appear naturally in water. These may include uranium, arsenic, or radon. Other contaminants come from agriculture or livestock, for example, pesticides, fertilizers, animal feeding, biosolids.

Q: Can’t I just dig my own well?
A: Digging your own well is not a good idea because of the many regulations and standards the state requires. You should work with a licensed contractor to dig your well.

Q: What kind of pump should I install?
A: Your pump should be installed by a contractor with a current license to install pumps. You will not know what size pump to install until you know the capacity of your well. The depth of your well will affect the choice of pump – for example, many deep wells in California use submersible pumps. The method used to create your well – drilling, cable tool, etc. – may also affect pump choice because of the size of the well opening created. Be guided by a trusted pump contractor in your choice of wells.

Q: Can I drill for water on my own land?
A: Many counties and cities in California require a permit before you can dig. You should check with the Department of Water Resources, which has a list of these regions and their permitting agencies.

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