New well, cased 18 inches above-ground, with a sealed, vented cap. Photo courtesy ETR Laboratories.
A water well on a farm is a hole drilled, dug, or driven into an aquifer to provide water for various agricultural uses, such as livestock watering or crop irrigation, and residential use, including drinking water. Wells are also used on conservation lands to provide drinking water for wildlife.
Properly designed and constructed wells ensure a clean, safe water supply and help protect groundwater quality. Well hardware generally includes a pump, a well screen and casing. Well screens allow water to enter the well and the pump brings the water to the surface. The well casing, typically made of plastic or steel, houses the pump and extends to the aquifer—an underground layer of sand, gravel or rock saturated with water.
Old wells may need replacing if they are contaminated or fail to meet current standards; if damaged or worn out (which increases the risk of becoming contaminated); or if insufficient for current needs due to capacity or location.
Guidance from USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
Minnesota Department of Health
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
See contacts for specific programs that fund this practice in the side-by-side payment comparison or contact your local Soil and Water Conservation District