“WATER, WATER EVERYWHERE,
BUT NOT A DROP TO DRINK."
Out here in the Country, most properties are serviced by private water wells. If you run out of water, it's between you and your plumber, and if the well is dry, so are you! When you buy, you have to know two things:
Wells are usually drilled, but some older ones are dug and some cottages have shore wells down by the lake. Whoever puts the well in should issue a "Well Driller’s Report" and file it with the Ministry of the Environment. I remember one old local well driller who always used to say he "drilled holes, and God decided whether or not they were wells!"
You should see the Well Report as soon as possible in the purchasing process. It will tell you when the well was installed, how deep it is, and will recommend a pumping rate. For a normal family use, you would want to see three or more gallons a minute.
Remember, the report is only a snapshot of how much water was being produced on the day it was written up. But you’re buying now. You may want it up dated by a plumber who can give you a "Flow Rate Report" that shows what’s down there now.
A lot of Ontario wells dry up between June and August. No one can guarantee how good a well will be, but you might try to get the vendor to warrant to you how good it has been. If you want such a warranty, you must put it in writing in the offer.
2. IS IT GOOD ENOUGH TO DRINK?
It really does not matter how much water you have if it's too dirty, sulphury or salty to use. I've sniffed well water that you wouldn't bathe your dog in! And the real sticker with problem water is that there may be no where else on your lot that will give you good water.
Usually the vendor, or his agent, will provide a "Water Analysis" to show that there are no bacteria in the water - Readings should be "0-0". Anything else should be retested at least three times.
But even where there is no bacteria in water, it may be too sulphery or salty to drink. If you are buying, run the taps for a while. Taste the water before you jump in! Some problems can be treated, but at a cost and some cannot be treated successfully.