Many County residents still have private wells
and septic systems
on their properties; especially those in the older, more rural and remote areas. Areas include Wilton, Sloughhouse, Rio Linda, Elverta, Garden Highway, Freeport and Sierra Oaks Vista, among others. If wells and septic tanks aren’t properly maintained, they can cause serious public health threats. Education and preparation are key to combating this threat.
Oftentimes, wells are the only safe source of drinking water for a property. It is critical for people to protect their water supply from contaminants that can make them sick, and they should be aware of how seasonal changes may affect their drinking water.
One seasonal change to be especially aware of is the flooding that occurs during Sacramento’s rainy season. People who have private wells often have septic systems. If a septic system becomes overloaded with floodwaters, the excess wastewater has to go somewhere. If this wastewater makes its way into the well, the well water can become contaminated (e.g. E. coli).
Regular maintenance will ensure that both septic systems and the well’s surface features remain water tight. There are a variety of ways for residents to be proactive in protecting their wells, especially leading up to and during the winter:
- Insulate any exposed piping to prevent freezing and subsequent cracking.
- Complete regular visual inspections of the well’s surface features to catch small problems before they become big ones.
- Ensure that the well is protected from the general intrusion of any outside material, whether it be flood waters, waste water, animal enclosures or wildlife.
- If you experience flooding, have your well tested for contamination.
For more information about wells, visit the Department of Environmental Management's Wells Program