Every month the American Ground Water Trust receives hundreds of requests for advice about drinking water safety. Many people want to "do the right thing", i.e., make sure their drinking water is safe.
Chances are that your water is just fine, but YOU CAN'T TELL JUST BY LOOKING, SMELLING OR BY TASTING.
Testing is the first and most important step for well owners, or for any consumer concerned about water quality. The Trust recommends that a certified laboratory be used for water tests.
FIRST TIME TESTS
If you have never had your water tested, or if you don't have any record of previous tests, the Trust recommends that you test for the following:
If your well is near an operational or abandoned gas station or buried fuel storage also test for:
IF YOUR WELL IS IN BEDROCK
Also test for:
ONCE A YEAR
Test for coliform bacteria, nitrate and pH (acidity). If pH is less than 7.0, test for lead.
NEW WELL EQUIPMENT OR CHANGE IN WATER APPEARANCE
After the installation of any new well equipment or if there is any change in taste color or odor of your water at any time, it makes sense to immediately test for bacteria.
Keep a file of your water test results, but remember water test results only show what was tested!
HOW TO GET YOUR WATER TESTED
Some laboratories offer a delivery and collection service. You place an order via phone or e-mail. Sample bottles and packing box are sent to you with sampling instructions. You take the sample, send it off via mail or courier service and the results are e-mailed, faxed or mailed to you within a few days.
Use a local certified laboratory. You may stop-by the lab to pick up sampling directions and sample containers. Collect your samples and deliver them back to the lab. Results will come by mail, fax or e-mail within a few days.
Engage the services of a certified laboratory to come to your home and take the water samples.
There may be a laboratory service offered locally by a state or county agency for basic testing of water. However if a range of tests is required, it will probably be necessary to contact a commercial certified testing laboratory.
For more information on water quality, ground water and water wells click on "Ground Water Information". For more specific questions call the Trust at 1-800-423-7748 or e-mail your question to the Trust.