Kitchener-Waterloo

Guelph asking people to seal up unused wells to avoid contaminating ground water

Guelph is asking homeowners with unused water wells or septic systems to seal and decommission them. The city has recently launched a rebate program to help with the cost.

Unused water wells can collect bacteria and runoff from storms, which can impact drinking water

The City of Guelph relies on ground water as its main source of municipal drinking water and sealing up unused water wells and septic systems are ways the city protects their drinking water from getting contaminated. (City of Guelph/Twitter)

Guelph property owners with unused water wells or septic systems are being asked by the city to decommission them and seal them up.

Unused water wells and septic systems can pose a threat to Guelph's drinking water, according to Kristin Pressey, co-ordinator of the source water protection program for the city.

She says the city relies on ground water as its main source of municipal drinking water. Sealing up unused water wells and septic systems are ways the city protects their drinking water from getting contaminated.

"Pooling water around the wells, runoff from major storm events could get into the well," she said. 

"Depending how deep they are, they could be right in the aquifer," Pressey added. "The same with septic systems. Some of the runoff or discharge that comes out of a septic system can be problematic for our sources of drinking water."

It's estimated Guelph has 600 privately owned water wells. 

The city has recently launched a rebate program to help alleviate some of the costs of decommissioning a water well.

People can receive up to $1,500 per well and $15,000 per septic system decommissioned.

The rebate will endorse a maximum of two wells or septic system and will allow people to mix and match.

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