Water Issues - Wells

For years, ground-coupled heat pumps have been connected to wells in many coastal areas with high water tables. In these systems, the water is pumped from the well, used once, and then is pumped out. The only change in the water was a slight temperature difference. The rejected water is dumped into a surface well, lake, or stream, continually removing water from the aquifer. Alternative systems use a recharge well to return the water into the ground.

Open-loop systems use a lot of water and can only be economically justified where wells and disposal systems are easy to install.

Environmental concerns have been raised since aquifers can be depleted if the water is not reinjected. Also, the risk of contamination is an increasing concern. Improperly installed wells can be a path for surface water run-off that carries pesticides, fertilizers, organic materials, and other contaminants into underlying aquifers.

Properly installed and maintained systems pose relatively few problems. But, because of the potential for abuse, some states and localities have forbidden the use of open-loop systems.

For more information about permit requirements, and applicable codes and restrictions, contact a local well-driller, or the water department having jurisdiction over the site. Or, contact the National Ground Water Association for referral to a well drilling professional in your area.