Environmental Advisory Committee
Health Facts

Water Wells That Last
A Guide for Private Well Owners in Alberta

Groundwater is a priceless resource lying beneath most of Alberta’s land surface. About 90 percent of rural Albertans rely on groundwater for a household water supply. Reliance on groundwater continues to increase in Alberta because of the steady rise in population and additional requirements for agricultural, industrial, municipal and domestic uses. Because it is a “hidden” resource, groundwater is vulnerable to overuse and water quality degradation.

Private water well owners are responsible for managing and maintaining their water wells. This publication provides information about how to properly manage private water wells which is key to protecting groundwater supplies.

The authors gratefully acknowledge the contributors of this current and previous editions of this publication representing Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, Alberta Environment and Parks, Agriculture and AgriFood Canada, and the Alberta Water Well Drilling Association. We also acknowledge the following sources of information used in the preparation of this publication: Driscoll, F.G., Groundwater & Wells, and Mance, E., A Landowner’s Guide to Water Well Management.

**Photographs used in this publication were provided by Government of Alberta staff unless otherwise noted.

Consequences of NOT Cleaning Up Dog Waste

  • Beyond the mess and the smell, it’s potentially infectious to other animals and to humans.
  • Waste left to wash into the soil, whether in a neighborhood, trail, or dog park, can spread life-threatening parasites, not only to other dogs and cats, but also to wild animals and to people.
  • Signs that remind you to pick up after your pet are not just trying to keep public spaces clean; they’re urging you to help safeguard your community’s health.
  • Common dog waste parasites include hookworms, roundworms, coccidia and whipworms. Hookworms and roundworms can thrive in a variety of species, including humans.
  • Beyond parasites, unattended droppings may also be contaminated with viruses that can create life-threatening diseases in other animals, domesticated and wild.

Key points to remember to avoid parasites and minimize the impact on our ecosystem:

  • Pick waste up and safely throw it out regardless of where your pet poops. Sanitize your hands afterward.
  • Wash your hands before eating or touching your face while gardening or working in the yard.
  • Avoid rinsing poop into the soil. Using rain or a garden hose only removes the visible mess, not the microscopic issues.
  • Make sure sandboxes are covered when not in use.
  • Keep your pets on intestinal de-worming schedules.
  • Have your vet test your pet’s waste for intestinal parasites.

Eutrophication (Nutrient Pollution)

Spring Lake is known as a ‘seepage lake’ and lakes such as ours are typical in this area. These bodies of water have no surface water inflows or outflows. Most water comes from groundwater flow; springs in our case. Spring Lake, like many lakes in Alberta, is what is called a ‘eutrophic lake’. Lakes become eutrophic in a natural process as the lake ages and becomes more productive. This normally takes thousands of years to occur. We as humans, through our various cultural activities have greatly accelerated the eutrophication process in thousands of lakes around the world.

Winter Aeration Information for Spring Lake

● Spring Lake is known as a eutrophic lake and like many lakes in our region, is gradually getting more shallow and producing more organic material which competes for available oxygen.

● The aerators pump oxygen into the water during the winter so the ice does not starve the lake of oxygen, which is needed to keep fish and other types of wildlife alive.

● Up until 2023, the Alberta Conservation Association supplied all of the equipment and labor for installing and removing the aerators for our lake.

● In 2023 the Alberta Conservation Association in partnership with the Edmonton Trout Fishing Club; then in turn the Edmonton Trout Fishing Club in partnership with the Village of Spring Lake, took over the equipment, installation, removal and electrical costs of the aerators.

●  Fencing and signage is put up once the aerators are installed to discourage people and animals from going near the open water and thin ice.

●  Some water evaporation occurs but it is minimal relative to the rate that occurs in the warmer seasons.

● Some years, oxygen levels are recorded during the winter months to ensure the aerators are doing their job. This is done by the Alberta Conservation Association.

●  Due to the winter aeration our lake benefits from increased oxygen levels which in turn helps many types of plant life and small invertebrates flourish rather than dying off.

●  These plants and invertebrates provide food for other birds, amphibians, and reptiles, and the biodiversity of our lake increases.

●  Over the years since the aerators have been operating, it has helped bring in more Ospreys, Pelicans, and more pairs of Blue Herons and Grebes as some examples. This has also helped our lake support the four pairs of nesting loons that have called Spring Lake home for many years.

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