Should I have my water tested?
Yes, you should test your well water periodically. Here are some guidelines to follow when testing your water:
- Test your water every year for total coliform bacteria, nitrates, total dissolved solids, and pH levels.
- If you suspect other contaminants, test for those too.
- Always use a state certified laboratory that conducts drinking water tests.
- Since some contaminant testing can be expensive, spend some time identifying potential problems.
EPA'S PRIVATE WELL WEBSITE
EPA's private well website "Frequently Asked Questions" link contains a chart of various types of contaminants to consider.
EPA'S "WHAT YOU CAN DO"
EPA has a "What You Can Do" link with a potential contaminant sources table near the bottom of the page.
HOW DO I FIND A CERTIFIED LABORATORY?
The following is information on PA certified drinking water laboratories.
- Bacterial test kits can be purchased from DEP regional offices. Follow this link to find locations.
- To find a laboratory that can perform chemical contaminant testing, you can follow this link (PDF).
HOW DO I COMPARE MY TEST RESULTS TO DRINKING WATER STANDARDS?
The Pennsylvania Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) chart (PDF) lists several chemicals, such as inorganic (IOCs), organic (VOCs), and synthetic (SOCs). It also lists the levels that Pennsylvania's regulated public water systems cannot exceed.
If your well test results are higher than the MCLs listed, you should install a water treatment device for the specific chemical or microbiological contaminant. See the next section "Drinking Water Treatment Links" for more information.
HOW DO I FIND INFORMATION ABOUT DRINKING WATER TREATMENT DEVICES?
Treatment Devices This NSF website provides information about various types of groundwater treatment devices. They discuss common well problems and, at the bottom of the page under the "Other Information" heading, have an "Online Drinking Water Treatment Unit Product Database". That can be used to identify treatment for various ground water contaminants. Just below the database link is a "Common Contaminants" link which provides contaminant descriptions and treatment recommendations.
Below are specific NSF links about contaminants and drinking water treatment devices: