Our main office is a pretty close proximity to Houston, so I work with a lot of clients who have always been on a city water system and are either relocating further outside of the city or are buying a secondary property. With the location further outside of the city comes the territory of owning a water well for the very first time.
While well ownership is not difficult, I have seen it almost serve as a deterrent to some potential landowners before, so I wanted to address that it isn’t as scary as it seems and that you can do it!
The absolute best resource I can give you is the Texas Well Owner’s Network.
If you take nothing else away from this article, at least save that website. It will tell you everything you could need to know and more about well maintenance and ownership. The Texas Well Owner Network is offered by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service in cooperation with the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board and other agencies and organizations.
The Texas Well Owner Network is an educational program that aims to:
• Educate residents about water issues, with a
focus on groundwater
• Help Texans improve their water’s quantity and
• Help residents implement community watershed
protection plans and participate in the Texas
Watershed Steward program
Always have your water tested for coliform and E. coli when you buy a property with an existing well. Don’t drink the water until it has been tested and disinfected.
How to disinfect a well:
STEP 1 Power Off:
• Turn off electrical power to the pump by turning
off the circuit breaker.
• Disconnect water softeners and household
water filters by switching to bypass mode or the
“out of service” position.
STEP 2 Open the Well:
• Remove all debris near the well. Check the well
for damage. Remember, if your well is damaged,
this process will not work.
• For a well seal, remove the threaded
well plug for access; for a well cap or
sanitary cap, remove the bolts from
the cap and lift for access. For a well cover, lift or
push the cover away for access.
• If your well system does not look like the options
below, call a certified well contractor for further
STEP 3 Mixing Directions:
• Fill the five-gallon bucket about three-fourths
full with clean, uncontaminated water.
• Use Table 1 to determine how much bleach is
• Add bleach to the bucket of water.
• Using the funnel, pour the bleach solution into
the thread well plug or well casing.
**** Be careful not to splash/spill the solution
STEP 4 Recirculate the Chlorinated Water:
• Turn on electrical power to the pump by turning
on the circuit breaker.
• Connect the garden hose to an outdoor faucet.
• For a well seal: place the funnel into your well’s
access point and put the garden hose into the
funnel. Be careful not to let the chlorinated
water enter your septic system. For well caps
and covers: place the garden hose into the well
• Turn the water on and let it run for 30 minutes to
circulate the bleach within the well.
STEP 5 Run Chlorine Solution Through Faucets:
• Run the chlorinated water throughout the
plumbing system inside the house and work your
way out by turning on each tap one at a time until
you smell bleach.
• Repeat this step for both hot and cold taps, toilet
and shower/bath taps and outside faucets.
• Leave the chlorinated water in the plumbing for
at least eight hours (e.g., overnight).
STEP 6 Flush the Chlorinated Water:
• Connect garden hose to an outdoor faucet and
run the water until you no longer smell chlorine.
• Keep the running water away from your septic
system, landscaping, and bodies of water.
• Turn off the garden hose once you can no longer
• Begin turning on each fixture inside the house
one at a time until the chlorine smell is no longer
STEP 7 Disinfect Water and Reconnect Treatments:
• Disinfect home water softener or household
filters according to the manufacturer’s
instructions and then reconnect those devices.
Get the full handout on how to disinfect here.
Even after you’ve disinfected your well, please make sure to have it tested a second time to ensure all potential bacteria has been removed. You can find a lab to have a water sample tested here.
If we can help you out with anything pertaining to your property or a place you are interested in, don’t hesitate to reach out to TexasLandAndHome@gmail.com or 979-541-7810
One response to “What the heck do I do with a water well?”
That’s a good idea to have the well tested for bacteria before you buy a property that uses one. I wouldn’t want to get food poisoning every time I drank the water at my home. If I am ever thinking about getting a home that uses well water, I’ll have to get someone to run a test on it for me.