Is your well water safe to drink?

If you live in Rappahannock County there’s a good chance your water source is a private well. If so, there are recommended practices for keeping water safe — granted it’s safe to begin with.

Well owners are often unaware of the possible causes of contamination to their water. Older wells may not be sealed properly near the surface or their source of water may be shallow and influenced by potential pollutant sources like feedlots, septic systems, and other land uses.

Private wells are unregulated under the Safe Water Drinking Act, thus it is the well owners’ responsibility to ensure the water is safe to drink.

The Southeast Rural Community Assistance Project is a non-profit organization, working with the EPA and USDA, to provide education and outreach to well owners. Better yet, SERCAP is locally based and is seeking well owners to participate in its program by having a free in-person assessment of their water well.

The assessment process will help a well owner understand the potential risks and vulnerabilities that might impact their drinking water. It considers site conditions, geology, land use practices, well construction, and maintenance to provide a well owner with a list of possible concerns, if any are found.

Additionally, recommendations and best practices will be provided to help residents keep their well and family safe from well contamination. SERCAP staff will not be opening the well or taking water samples.

People interested in this free assessment can contact Joe Fields at or 540-494-3011 to schedule a day and time. The assessment takes one hour and a written report will be provided within a month of the visit.

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