Because surface water can rapidly enter into the groundwater system and move quickly through channels created in the limestone rock, private drinking water wells located in karst aquifers are more susceptible to contamination than those in other types of aquifers.
These contaminants can include bacteria (from animal waste or failing drain fields), pesticides and fertilizers in runoff, and hazardous products that were not properly disposed of (such as motor oil and other household chemicals). To minimize the risk of contamination, please refer to our Best Practices for Private Water Wells page.
Additionally, heavy pumping at rates that significantly lower groundwater levels may affect the subsurface "plumbing" and result in sinkhole collapses, ground subsidence, and de-watering of neighboring wells and ponds.
These are some of the potential problems that can occur in karst areas. As long as people in the community understand the unique geology and take reasonable precautions, wells can be safely used in these areas.