Purdue Residential Onsite Wastewater Disposal:  Septic system information to protect your family and the environment

Protecting Drinking Water

Your septic system must be a safe distance from your drinking water well. Check with your local health department for minimum separation distances.

Drinking water


At the very minimum you should: 

  • Maintain safe distances from your well to other potential contaminant sources such as your septic system and fuel storage.

  • The minimum setback distance is 50 feet in many states.

  • Maintain your septic system by having it inspected and pumped every three to five years.

  • Make sure your well is properly constructed with no cracks in the well casing.

  • Test annually for nitrates and bacteria.

  • A pesticide screening can also give you useful information.

  • Test at least once for lead.Drinking water

Educational Tutorials

To learn more about protecting drinking water, see:

Risk Assessments

Take a few hours today to complete either the Home*A*Syst or Indiana Farmstead Assessment System. These programs will help you answer many questions, including those above. Both programs are a service of Purdue Extension for you to use in protecting your drinking water and keeping your home safe and healthy.

Other Resources

To find out more about protecting drinking water, see: