High Country Home Buyer’s Guide to Wells

Well, well, well. If your property hunt in the High Country has led you to the often times unfamiliar realm of wells, you are not alone. Unless you are in an immediate downtown district of one our small towns, most houses or lots will be dependent on a private or shared well for water access. Well systems in the High Country are similar to septic systems. Most of the wells in our region are privately maintained.

In the High Country, most of these wells are drilled wells, which are “constructed by percussion or rotary-drilling machines… and have a lower risk of contamination due to their depth and use of continuous casing” (Learn About Private Water Wells). Well placement is extremely important, to avoid contamination and to adhere to health department requirements, such as distance from fuel tanks, right of ways, wetlands or other things that could affect groundwater quality. If your property does not yet have a well, you will apply through health department. In this application, you will have to indicate that your proposed well site fits all of the above criteria.

In the High Country, to get access to the fresh mountain water, wells are drilled through a plethora of rock types including gneiss, phyllite, igneous, schist and quartzite (Huffman, et al). Once the well has been drilled, a tube shaped casing (most often made of steel or plastic) is installed, with screens and pumps to filter and direct the water to the surface. You are not always guaranteed to hit water and this can be a frustrating and costly process. According to a 2008 study on nearly 1,500 wells in Avery and Watauga counties, the minimum well depth was 20 feet, the average depth was 300 feet and the maximum was 1,204 feet deep. That is a huge level of variance and as you can imagine, there’s a huge level of cost variance associated with this. There’s also a huge difference in possible yield for gallons per minute that these wells produce, from 0 to 400. Long story short, not all wells are created equal so expect that you may need a lot of flexibility when attempting to get a well drilled and operational.

Once your well is installed, responsible ownership includes maintaining a well cap (to prevent all manners of environmental contaminants), maintain your well with regular testing and inspections (roughly every 10 years according to the National Ground Water Association), and conserving water. Water conservation will save you money in operating costs and ensure your water supply remains safe and plentiful.

Find more information on App Healthcare’s private well program and application process.

About the Author

"I am a proud Boonie and feel grateful to call the High Country home. Hailing from Rome, Georgia, I am the youngest of three brothers, the proud son of a German and a native Atlantan. It only took one college visit for me to fall in love with Boone in 2011. After four years of school and various jobs in the community, I was offered an opportunity to hit the road and work all over the East Coast. I worked in construction management/sales and property inspections for insurance companies. The year of 2018 was a monumental year for me as it saw me complete my degree in Business Management and buy my home in downtown Boone, where I run an Airbnb (the Bent Street Bungalow). I live with my two dogs, Redman and Junior, and spend more time than I should in my garden or out in the woods with my pups. I bring a passion for people, connections and diplomacy to the table and love applying that to being a Realtor. My experience in construction and sales provide a unique set of tools for the world of real estate. I am so excited to help you facilitate your Boone experience and truly believe there’s no place quite like the 828. I love Boone for the normal reasons—cool air, storied mountains, vibrant rivers and so on, but I also love Boone because it is just so easy to have a good day here. The community is unlike any other I have experienced and I look forward to growing with it for a long time to come. Working in real estate is my full-time endeavor so I am fully invested in helping you with my knowledge of the area, my enthusiastic work ethic and my creativity in marketing to ensure that the best possible result is achieved.”