Many rural residents rely on private wells and cisterns as their drinking water source.

The condition of water wells and the safety of their water is the responsibility of the well owner. Unacceptable levels of bacteria, such as E. coli can contaminate a private water supply and put the health of those who use it at risk. Even a very small change in the well structure, such as a crack or a change in the environment such as heavy rain can result in significant changes to water quality.

Please refer to the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit’s website for more details on how to test your private well or cistern water.


Well Construction and Maintenance

Wells must be constructed in accordance with the Wells Regulation 903 made under the Ontario Water Resources Act and completed by licensed well contractors and technicians. The Wells Regulation places legal obligations on the well owner to meet certain requirements dealing with non-potable water, mineralized water, natural gas and construction issues, and well abandonment. If you hire someone to do maintenance / to install a well pump, they must also be licensed with a Class 4 pump installation license. To find a licensed well contractor please visit the Ministry of Environment, Conservation, and Parks directory of licensed contractors.


For a summary of the information found in the Water Supply Wells – Requirements and Best Management Practices manual published by the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, visit Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks – Water Supply Wells Technical Bulletins

For more information on constructing, modifying, decommissioning, and more about wells on private property, visit the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change’s website.


CAUTION: Confined Spaces

Small, enclosed spaces such as a cistern, septic tank, some farming and industrial equipment, well (dug / bored wells) or a well pit, may be considered Hazardous Confined Spaces and should never be entered by anyone other than a trained professional.


For more information on Hazardous Confined Spaces please visit: