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How Deep Should a Well be for Drinking Water?

Updated on March 12, 2022

A drinking water well should be at least 80-120 feet deep so that surface contaminants cannot enter well water. The average depth for household is 100-800 feet in the US.

Well depth is a subjective term when it comes to drinking water well because underground water levels vary from one area to another. You may find water in some areas at 60 feet depth and may not find water at 200 feet in some areas.

How to find out the right depth in your area?

Start by gathering ground knowledge. Ask your neighbors, collect information from state office, well contractors, and online records.

The right depth for a drinking well depends on factors mentioned below.

Well Surrounding – If the area near your well is neat and clean, you can also drink water from a shallow well. Make sure there are no animal feedlots nearby, which can contaminate the shallow wells.

Surface Contamination Risks – Deeper wells are less prone to surface contaminations. A properly built well with well casing and well caps protect water from contaminants such as sediment, heavy metals, and microorganisms. Shallow wells are susceptible to run-off contamination.

Volume of Underground Water – Another critical factor to consider is the volume of water in the aquifer. The well will be used for all water needs in your home. Therefore it must have enough water to last for 10-20 years.

Quality of Well Equipment Make sure you only use high-quality and state approved materials for well construction. Problems with well cashing, screen and cap can make well water impure and undrinkable.

water purification testing

Water Testing – It is important to get your water tested annually to maintain drinking water quality. Annual testing will let you upgrade/modify your well water treatment system and ensure that your family gets to drink pure and healthy water.

Final Words – What’s the ideal depth?

There is no ideal depth for a drinking water well. You need to go 40-50 feet below the water level to make your well “deep.” The other factors mentioned above also impact the quality of water from a well.


  • Earl Rojo

    Earl Rojo has been a senior mechanic in well drilling and maintenance firms for 3 years. He is from Longview, Texas, and he loves sharing his experience with others. He frequently writes on various well water issues with a special focus on well maintenance and drinking water quality.

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