Do you have a private well for your water source? If so, there are some important steps you must take to ensure the quality of your drinking water. In this blog post, we’ll discuss how to check the quality of your well water and how to maintain it over time.
Contact Your County or State Health Department
When it comes to testing your well water for contaminants, your county or state health department should be your first point of contact. They can provide information about state certified labs and accredited laboratories that can help you by providing sample containers and instructions.
They may also be able to help you test for bacteria and nitrates, or connect you with low cost water testing resources during annual drinking water clinics. Make sure to contact them so you can get the most accurate results from your well water testing.
Check with Your State Certification Officer
You should check with your State Certification Officer for a list of certified laboratories and to ensure that your water testing meets all EPA regulations. They can provide you with sample containers and instructions on how to properly collect your water sample.
Your State Certification Officer can also help you understand the essential tests that should be performed routinely on every private well, as well as the best time to test your well water. Additionally, some states may offer low cost well water testing during annual drinking water clinics.
Use the EPA Website for a List of State Certified Labs
Once you’ve decided to check the quality of your well water, you can use the EPA website for a list of state certified laboratories. These labs are certified to analyze drinking water samples and provide data that can help advance the protection of drinking water.
You can also obtain certification program information and find drinking water quality information for your community. Furthermore, these state certified laboratories can provide proficiency testing (PT) criteria for the Laboratory Approval UCMR 5 samples using the methods marked with an “X” next to their names.
It is important to test your well water periodically, and it is recommended that you use a state certified laboratory that conducts drinking water tests.
Contact your county or state health department, or check with your State Certification Officer to get a list of the state-certified (licensed) laboratories in your area that test for a variety of substances.
Contact an Accredited Laboratory to Get Sample Containers and Instructions
You can contact an accredited laboratory to obtain sample containers and instructions on how to test your well water. These containers supplied by water testing labs will have a chemical present to remove any chlorine in the sample.
When you have your water tested, you will receive results in the form of a lab report. Essential tests to perform routinely on every private well include coliform bacteria, nitrate, and lead tests.
To ensure accurate results, it is important to follow the laboratory’s instructions. Each state has a process that laboratories must complete to become state certified to perform these specific testing procedures. Low cost well water testing is also available during annual drinking water clinics, so be sure to take advantage of those when available.
Essential Tests to Perform Routinely on Every Private Well
You should test your private well annually for total coliform bacteria, nitrates, total dissolved solids, and pH levels. If you suspect the presence of other contaminants, contact your county or state health department to determine which tests are necessary. Additionally, monitor initially and then at a minimum once every year for bacteria and nitrate/nitrite, or as otherwise required by the local Board of Health.
Radon, arsenic, and lead may also need to be tested depending on where you live. Low cost well water testing is often available during annual drinking water clinics. Contact an accredited laboratory to get sample containers and instructions, or ask your county environmental or health department for more information.
Test Your Water at the Tap at Least Once a Year
It is essential to test your water at the tap at least once a year for bacteria, and every 3-5 years for other contaminants, to ensure the safety of your drinking water. If you use a private well to supply water to your home, testing should be done at least once a year. Most people on municipal water who pay their own bill should receive an annual water quality report called a CCR.
Testing is recommended every spring and if you camp or hike a lot, you should bring test strips with you to ensure potable water on the go. Only analysis by a certified laboratory can accurately determine the safety of your drinking water so contact an accredited laboratory to get sample containers and instructions, or ask your county environmental or health department for assistance.
Best Time to Test Your Well Water
Best Time to Test Your Well Water
The best time to check your well water is during the spring when the snow melt is not present. Summer and early fall are actually when testing tends to reveal the highest levels of bacteria in well water.
Private well water should be tested a minimum of once per year, and it’s recommended you perform testing at least once a year and look out for possible changes in your water’s taste, smell, or color. If you use a private well to supply water to your home, we also recommend that you contact your county or state health department for advice and assistance.
Low Cost Well Water Testing During Annual Drinking Water Clinics
The Virginia Household Water Quality Program provides low cost well water testing during their annual drinking water clinics. At these events, you can have your well water tested for total coliform bacteria, nitrates, and other contaminants.
Additionally, well owners in rural areas are encouraged to test their drinking water annually for any contaminants of local concern. Contact your county or state health department for more information about these clinics.