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What should be our approach to testing well water for contamination? - US EPA advice, annotated.
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2. Strategy: Have Your Well Water Tested [for Contaminants - EPA Suggests a Well Water Testing Strategy]
Here we give information about drinking water from home wells (also considered private drinking water sources). It describes types of activities in your area that can create threats to your water supply.
This US EPA material also describes problems to look for and offers maintenance suggestions. Sources for more information and help are also listed. [Editing for clarity by DF are marked by brackets or italics] Initial Source: EPA 816-K-02-003 January 2002. Edits, content addition, & web page design
Test your water every year for total coliform bacteria, nitrates, total dissolved solids, and pH levels. If you suspect other contaminants, test for these also. Chemical tests can be expensive. Limit them to possible problems specific to your situation. Again, local experts can tell you about possible impurities in your area.
Often county health departments do tests for bacteria and nitrates. For other substances, health departments, environmental offices, or county governments should have a list of state certified laboratories. Your State Laboratory Certification Officer can also provide one. Call EPA's Safe Drinking Water Hotline, (800) 426- 4791, for the name and phone number of your state's certification officer.
Before taking a sample, contact the lab that will perform your tests. Ask for instructions and sampling bottles. Follow the instructions carefully so you will get correct results. The first step is getting a good water sample. It is also important to follow advice about storing the samples.
Ask how soon they must be taken to the lab for testing. These instructions can be very different for each substance being tested.
Remember to test your water after replacing or repairing any part of the well system (piping, pump, or the well itself.) Also test if you notice a change in your water's look, taste, or smell.
The chart at Reasons to Test Well Water will help you spot problems. The last five problems listed are not an immediate health concern, but they can make your water taste bad, may indicate problems, and could affect your system long term.
This article series gives you general information about drinking water from home wells (also considered private drinking water sources). It describes types of activities in your area that can create threats to your water supply. This text also describes problems to look for and offers maintenance suggestions.
Sources for more information and help are also listed. [Editing for clarity by DF are marked by brackets or italics] Initial Source: EPA 816-K-02-003 January 2002. Edits, content addition, & web page design
Article series contents
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