Category Archives: Wells

SRRCD Wins Bajkov Award May 8th, 2016

Posted in: Environmental Education General Livestock Programming Rain Gardens Tourond Creek Discovery Centre / Rosenthal Nature Park Trees Water Quality Testing Water Storage/Retention Watershed Moments Wells

Spirits were highSRRCD Award photo - Chris Randall- Jodi Goerzen- Cornie Goertzen- Alex Salki-Larry Bugera at Fort Whyte Alive as representatives of Seine-Rat River Conservation District (SRRCD) Board of Directors and staff were honoured with the 2015 Alexander Bajkov Award. The award is given annually by the Lake Winnipeg Foundation (LWF) to people who have worked passionately to improve the health of Lake Winnipeg.

“The Seine-Rat River Conservation District exemplifies the community collaboration necessary to create meaningful change for Lake Winnipeg. Its board, staff, volunteers and the community members who participate in its many projects are dedicated to sustainable watershed stewardship – and not afraid to get their hands dirty. It’s a great example of grassroots cooperation in action” said Alexis Kanu, Lake Winnipeg Foundation’s Executive Director.

The Bajkov award is named in memory of pioneering fisheries biologist, Dr. Alexander Bajkov, and commemorates his contributions and dedication to the understanding of Lake Winnipeg. The award is usually presented to a single individual who demonstrates outstanding efforts to protect and restore the lake and its watershed. It was awarded this year to a group of dedicated individuals whose outstanding community efforts were recognized.

Since 2002, the SRRCD has promoted sustainable watershed stewardship in an area of southeast Manitoba with some of the largest nutrient loads flowing into the Red River and Lake Winnipeg.  Many of their programs are aimed at re-establishing natural ecosystem capacity to reduce the high nutrient loads.  The district’s efforts have led to involvement of new municipal partners, and improvements in municipal cooperation and relations.  The SRRCD began as one RM and now involves the Municipalities of La Broquerie, Ste. Anne, Hanover, Stuartburn, De Salaberry, Ritchot, Taché, Reynolds, Springfield, Montcalm, Emerson-Franklin, Piney, City of Steinbach, Town of Ste. Anne, Village of St-Pierre-Jolys, and Town of Niverville.

Alex Salki, Chair of the LWF Science Advisory Council, nominated the SRRCD for this year’s award, “The SRRCD has been involved in many special projects and partnerships including water storage, abandoned well sealing, rain gardens, willow-bioengineering for erosion control, grassed waterways, tree planting, environmental education, water quality testing in local rivers, watershed assessments, and integrated watershed management planning. It is a grassroots organization working hard from the bottom up to bring about important changes necessary to improve the health of Lake Winnipeg.”

Cornie Goertzen, Chair of the SRRCD Board of Directors, was all smiles as he graciously accepted the award on behalf of his beloved District. “The heart of our watershed initiatives are made up of grassroots experts who go the extra mile to build meaningful connections on the local level. While the wellbeing of our waterways are intrinsic to the health of Lake Winnipeg, our programs are strengthened through meaningful partnerships that have the potential to transform local initiatives into grassroots movements.”

The LWF is an environmental non-governmental organization working to restore and protect the health of Lake Winnipeg through research, public education, stewardship and collaboration. For more information about the LWF and its watershed initiatives, visit them online at

The SRRCD is a grassroots conservation group dedicated to supporting and promoting the sustainable management of land and water resources in southeast Manitoba.

Alex Salki and Cornie Goertzen

Is all Well with your Well? February 8th, 2016

Posted in: Watershed Moments Wells

This post was submitted by Dorthea Grégoire and Alan Wiebe of the Seine-Rat River Conservation District

The importance of regular well water testing

The RM of Piney is home to some of the highest quality groundwater in Canada. Some companies have made it their business to bottle and sell this award-winning water. Although the quality of groundwater in southeast Manitoba is excellent, private well water can be the source of health problems if your well is not maintained properly.

Most residents in the southeast rely on private wells for their water. The best way to monitor the health of your well is to regularly test your water for bacteria. Some kinds of bacteria can cause gastrointestinal problems, including vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, cramps, and poor digestion. These ailments can be harmful for young children; the elderly; people with compromised immune systems; or those undergoing intensive medical treatments, like chemotherapy, radiation, or organ transplant. Exposure to these bacteria can also weaken the immune systems of healthy people, and make them more susceptible to other illnesses, like the common cold or flu.

The Province of Manitoba recommends that you test your water every spring after the snow melt, or after any flooding events. Testing for E. coli and total coliform bacteria is important during this time because surface water runoff and flooding can carry contaminants directly into your well.

The Seine-Rat River Conservation District (SRRCD) can help you get your well water tested throughout the spring and summer months. Our staff will pick up your private well water samples from your local RM office and deliver them to the lab in Winnipeg on your behalf. We will be advertising the dates and rates of our well water testing days this spring.

The importance of well maintenance

Private well owners are responsible for the quality of their water and health of their well. While water testing can tell you what is in your water, regular well maintenance can help prevent bacteria from colonizing the inside of your well and water distribution system. Here are a few guidelines you can follow to maintain the health of your well:

Seal the lid:

Make sure the well is securely sealed with a cap or lid to prevent debris from entering your well. Cracked, poorly fitted, or rotting lids should be replaced as soon as possible.

Beware of wooden construction materials:

Bacteria love to live in decaying or moss covered wood. Wooden lids should be replaced with metal or concrete lids. If wood is the only construction material available to you, make sure it is dry, clean, and showing no sign of rot.

Railway ties were once a popular material used to construct shallow wells. They are often used as flower bed edging around or near wells. The problem with railway ties is that they are treated with creosote to preserve the wood. This harmful chemical can leech into the water supply and cause serious health problems. Railway ties should be removed from the area surrounding your well to prevent soil and water contamination.

Inspect the inside of your well:

The well casing refers to a small diameter metal or plastic pipe that is fitted inside the wellbore. Large diameter wells are usually fitted with a plastic, steel, concrete, wood, or fiberglass cribbing.

Tree roots can compromise the integrity of wells by puncturing or cracking the well casing or cribbing. The well cribbing is also subject to decay and damage from frost heave. Watch out for rusty metal, crumbling concrete, and misaligned seams. Replace damaged sections of the well cribbing to prevent contaminants from entering the well.

The well head should also stick up at least one (1) foot above the ground to prevent surface water runoff from flowing into the well. The area around the well should also be graded to keep surface water from pooling around the well head. If your well is located in a pit, consider having the pit removed and the well head brought up above the ground level.

The SRRCD can fund 50% of the cost up to $1,000 to fix up your well through our well head remediation program.

Keep the area around your well clean:

Tree branches, leaves, and other debris can build up over and around the well. These materials provide the ideal habitat for bacteria and small wildlife. Make sure the area around your well is clean, accessible, and free of debris.

Flowerbeds should be kept away from your well to reduce the risk of fertilizers, pesticides, or other chemicals entering your well. To reduce the risk of fecal contamination of your well, make sure the well is away from septic fields; compost piles; manure storage areas; and animal enclosures, including those intended for household pets.

Seal abandoned or unused wells:

It is common practice to drill new wells near existing wells. If an older well falls into disrepair, it may contaminate the new well that is located nearby. The best course of action is to seal the old well if it is no longer in use.

The SRRCD’s abandoned well sealing program covers 100% of the cost, up to $2,000, of sealing your abandoned or unused well.

Well health at SRRCD

The SRRCD can help you improve the health of your well. We offer programs for well water testing, abandoned well sealing, and well head remediation. Feel free to contact our office if you have any questions about these programs. You can reach us in La Broquerie at (204) 424-5845, or in Vita at (204) 425-7877. You can also visit us online at

Seal your Abandoned Wells April 8th, 2015

Posted in: Watershed Moments Wells

The Seine-Rat River Conservation District (SRRCD) will cover up to 100% of the total cost of sealing your private well. Our well sealing program is part of our ongoing work to reduce the potential for groundwater contamination. Old wells that are not maintained can allow pollutants to directly enter the aquifer below. Large diameter dug and bored wells can also pose a serious risk to public safety. These older wells can be a hazard for children and animals who could fall into them.

In 2014, the SRRCD sealed 28 wells in our district. The cost of sealing each of these wells was covered by the SRRCD.

We are now accepting applications for our 2015 abandoned well sealing program. All you need to do is complete an application and provide a refundable deposit of $100. You can contact our La Broquerie or Vita offices for more information, or visit us online at

Main Office
123 Simard St.
La Broquerie, MB

Field Office
108 Main St.
Vita, MB


SRRCD Sealing an Abandoned Well