What Can You Do If Your Well Turns Salty?

May 17, 2018


Hillary Greenberg-Lemos, Health and Conservation Agent for the town of Wellfleet, sees residents with salty wells several times a year.

Sometimes a saltwater incursion in the aquifer flushes itself out. But if it doesn’t look like your well is clearing out, Hillary Greenberg-Lemos, from Wellfleet’s Health and Conservation department, recommends the following steps:



1.     On your land: Work with a well-driller to find another spot on your property to site a well that meets setbacks to your and your neighbors’ septic systems.

2.     On our land: Work with the town to investigate siting a well slightly off your lot, maybe in a paper road or the road layout.

3.     On their land: Talk with your neighbors and see if you can get an easement to site a well on their property.

The Wellfleet Board of Health prefers that homeowners get fresh water from the source, but if that’s not possible:

4.     In your home: Install a home water filtration system to desalinate your water. The Board of Health is wary of these systems because they’re not currently regulated; if they’re not monitored and maintained properly, you could get other health and water quality issues turning up.

To save on the headache, some households on the Outer Cape rely on bottled water for drinking and cooking – and have since the 1970’s.

Pien Huang is a reporting fellow with the GroundTruth project, stationed at WCAI.