Well interference

Well interference occurs when the operation of one well causes an adverse effect on the operation of another, adjacent well. Typically, well interference is noted as a significant drop in the water level of the adjacent well such that the well can no longer be operated on a sustained basis. Well interference can result in the adjacent well going dry, or the water level in the well dropping below the intake of the pump in the well.

The City must ensure that its own well operations do not create significant interference effects on adjacent wells, and has a standard operating procedure for resolving any complaints.

What causes well failure?

Well failure can occur for many reasons, including causes that do not relate to the operation of City wells such as drought, low water levels, pump or plumbing problems, or well plugging. Drought and low rainfall often result in well problems for shallow groundwater wells.

How are complaints handled?

As part of its standard operating procedure, the City investigates all well interference complaints to determine the cause and report the results of the investigation to the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change.  If the City finds that its wells are responsible for the well interference, the City must resolve the complaint and restore the water supply for the affected well.

If the City’s investigation determines that operation of a City well or wells is not the cause of well failure of the complainant’s well, the well owner can escalate their complaint to the City’s Well Interference Committee to have the Committee adjudicate the complaint. In this case, the City (Water Services) would convene the Committee and provide a briefing on the complaint and its investigation for the Committee.  A hearing would then be scheduled at the convenience of the Committee and the well owner.

How do I contact the City about suspected well interference?

If you are concerned that City well operation is affecting your private well supply, please contact Water Services 24-hours a day, seven days a week as follows:

Monday to Friday, 8 a.m.–4 p.m.: 519-837-5627
After hours: 1-866-630-9242

For more information

Water Services
519-837-5627
waterservices@guelph.ca