Many Floridians with private wells don’t know how to take care of them
Approximately 12% of Florida’s population rely on a private well for drinking water, according to the
University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS).
That’s about 2.5 million people. Bithlo resident Tara Turner, 50, is one of them.
After years of relying on wells for drinking water, Turner feels quite comfortable maintaining her own well today, which sets her apart from the estimated one-third of Florida well users who don’t know how to care for their wells properly, according to UF/IFAS research.
Dr. Yilin Zhuang, an environmental engineer at UF/IFAS focused on studying water resources, is working with her colleagues to expand Floridians' understanding of well safety, maintenance and testing. She leads public webinars, shares research findings, and is currently compiling resources for a website to help private well owners, which she expects to launch sometime next year.
Zhuang says ultimately, the burden falls on private well users — not a public utility — to ensure their water system is working safely and properly.
“When it comes to private well users, there are just not that many regulations,” Zhuang said. “So it all relies on private well users to manage their wells, and make sure their drinking water is safe to drink.”