According to the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, Alaska has the greatest amount of groundwater resources in the United States. Daily statewide consumption is approximately 27 million gallons per day with a total usage of 406 million gallons per day, 82% of which comes from surface water and 18 % from groundwater. Many Alaskans get water from their private wells. As homeowners or potential homebuyers, it’s wise to consider the disadvantages and advantages of owning a well.
Most municipalities and/or states require that you submit an application for a permit to drill a well, and it must be designed, sited, and installed according to specific regulatory standards. For example, there are separation requirements that must be met, such as the well must be in a location at least 25 feet from a public sewerline and 100 feet from a septic tank. You can expect this to be an expensive process, but once constructed, the water output is yours to use freely and without restrictions. Once installed, the homeowner takes full responsibility for the maintenence and repair of the well at their cost. They must also regularly test for contaminates such as coliform bacteria and nitrates, as the Environmental Protection Agency does not regulate the water quality of private wells. The water may also contain high levels of elements including iron, or minerals that may potentially damage water lines, water heaters, boilers, and dishwashers. Homeowners may have to install filters or water softeners to address these problems. In addition, they may want to consider having a backup source of electricity in case of a power outage to supply the well’s water pump.
Having said all this, I have never enjoyed a cold, fresh drink of water more than one drawn from my own well.