Groundwater Characterization - FAQ

Question 1:  My well has gone dry, what should I do?

The performance of a water supply well may degrade for several reasons.  For example, periods of drought may lower the local water table below the level of the well pump, or encrustration of minerals and/or bacteria may lower the ability of the aquifer to transmit water into the well.  Depending on the specific problem your well may be experiencing, the well pump may need to be lowered, well encrustation might be rehabilitated, the existing well may need to be deepened, or an entirely new well may need to installed.  A certified water well driller should be able to determine the problem with your well and recommend corrective measures.  See the question below to find a certified well driller in your area.  **For drought monitoring purposes, DEQ's Office of Groundwater Characterization would like to know about instances of wells going dry.  Click here to download our Dry Well Reporting Form**

Question 2:  Are there any funds or programs that assist homeowners or communities that need to drill a new well?

Currently, there are no state-funded assistance programs or grants available for drilling replacement wells for supply wells that have failed.  In some instances, the DEQ Petroleum Program can use funds from the Virginia Petroleum Storage Tank Fund to replace and/or rehabilitate wells that have been unintentionally impacted by petroleum releases (for more info, please see Question 6) 

The Southeast Rural Community Assistance Project administers an Individual Household Well Loan Program designed to assist low to moderate income individuals needing loans to construct, refurbish and service their household wells.  The maximum loan amount is $8000 at an interest rate of 1%.  Loans are also available for housing and community development.  Loan amounts range from $1,000 to $150,000. Interest rates start at 4% and range up to a maximum of 7% using a sliding scale point system based on need.  Please visit their site or call (540) 345-1184 for more details.

Question 3: How do I go about finding a certified water well driller?

As of November 15, 2007, water well drillers are required by Virginia law to be licensed and certified by the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (VA Code § 54.1 - 1129.D).  The Virginia Water Well Association maintains a list of certified drillers and they would be happy to help you find a driller that installs wells in your area.

Question 4:  I'm worried about the quality of my well or spring water.  Who do I contact to have my water tested?

The Virginia Department of Consolidated Laboratories maintains a list of certified certified private laboratories that will analyze water samples for a variety of inorganic and organic chemicals, microbial organisms, and radioactive components.  The fees for such analyses are the responsibility of the homeowner and vary widely by test and laboratory chosen. 

Question 5:  My well water has a distinct kerosene / gasoline odor.  What should I do?

Contamination of well water from heating oil and gasoline tanks is not uncommon; however, certain naturally occurring components in groundwater are sometimes mistaken for petroleum contamination.  If you suspect that your well is contaminated with petroleum, you should contact a regional Petroleum Program staff person.  Contact numbers are available here: DEQ Petroleum Program Contacts.  If your well is contaminated with petroleum, financial assistance from the Virginia Petroleum Storage Tank Fund may be available for abatement of the contamination and provision of an alternate water supply.

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Virginia Department of
Environmental Quality
P.O. Box 1105
Richmond, VA 23218
(804) 698-4000

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