Letter Re: Locking up a Well Pump

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HJL,

Can you please help me understand what you mean about locking up a well pump to prevent sabotage? Even if my well pump is locked, a saboteur intent on destroying my well could still dump poison down the air vent or take a k-saw or sledge hammer to the exposed portions of the pump. Unless you are erecting an impenetrable concrete and steel structure around your pump, I don’t understand what you are protecting by putting a lock on a manual well pump.

Preventing an uninvited neighbor from cycling your well pump does not protect your well from damage. It does keep thirsty people from obtaining water, which may cause them to behave unpredictably, and withholding an unlimited supply of water from those who need it ranks among the most unchristian things I can think of to do in a disaster. This concept of placing a lock on an outdoor well pump is a real head-scratcher to me.

HJL responds: It’s similar to the concept of locking your house. If your house is built like the majority of modern houses, your house is inherently insecure. Most homes can be breached with a simple kick on the front door, but even if you take the precautions of securing the doors and even placing bars on the windows, a determined attacker is still going to gain entry. The best you can do is slow them down and make them work a little bit harder. Most criminals are lazy; if they have to work at it, they won’t bother. Years ago, the local locksmith told me that the secret to keeping your home from being broken into is to make your neighbor’s home seem more attractive to a criminal. If your neighbor puts up a chain link fence, you put up a fence and bars on your windows. If he posts a “security” sign in his yard, you post a “video security” sign in yours.

The bottom line is that if someone is determined to sabotage your well, there is very little you can do to stop him. However, you can certainly make it difficult for him. If that person is not acting with a determined mind and willing to put significant effort into it, he will simply move on. The vast majority of vandalism in this area is simply vandalism of opportunity. Just don’t give them the opportunity. After all, you probably don’t leave your front door unlocked or the keys in your car all the time either. It is important to remember that locking your front door does not prevent you from extending charity to people any more than securing your well head does.

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