|How to test your well water|
Testing your drinking water is an important routine for all private well owners. More than 3 million people in North Carolina rely on groundwater as their primary drinking source. Routine testing is important for monitoring the quality and safety of household drinking water and can help homeowners to detect contamination early.
Sample collection guidelines
Detailed instructions from the State Laboratory
Water testing laboratories in NC
To receive a chemical analysis from the State Laboratory of Public Health, private well owners must submit all water testing samples to a county health department. Sampling containers, which are required for all tests performed by the State Laboratory, can also be obtained from the health department. The county health department will arrange delivery of the sample to the State Laboratory for analysis or, in some counties, may visit your home to perform a well test. The NC Division of Public Health or your local health department will mail or email your results to you within several weeks of submitting the water sample.
Some samples, such as nitrates/nitrites, must be refrigerated or packed on ice prior to shipment. Typically, nitrates/nitrites samples must be analyzed within 48 hours of sampling. Testing for contaminants such as ammonia and cyanide require the addition of a chemical preservative or special sampling procedures. While most samples do not require these methods, it is best for all samples to be handled with care and mailed promptly. Following the sampling guidelines provided by the State Laboratory will help to avoid contamination and ensure accurate results.
Proper sampling procedures will ensure the quality and accuracy of your well water sample. Recommendations for collecting a well water sample include:
Proper sampling techniques will help the State Laboratory to detect trace levels of contaminants in your water and to correctly identify the contaminants. If you suspect the sample was contaminated during collection, re-submit a well water sample. The State Laboratory may also recommend re-submitting a well sample if contaminants of concern are discovered. For more information about submitting a water sample for analysis, visit the Environmental Sciences section of the State Laboratory.
How to collect a sample for inorganic analysis.
Inorganic contaminants tested by the State Laboratory:
Acidity, alkalinity, aluminum, amphibole, antimony, arsenic, asbestos, barium, beryllium, bromate, bromide, cadmium, calcium, chloride, chlorite, chromium, chrysotile, color, conductivity, copper, cyanide, dissolved organic carbon (DOC), fluoride, hardness, iron, lead, magnesium, manganese, mercury, nickel, nitrate, nitrite, orthophosphate, pH, selenium, silica, silver, sodium, sulfate, temperature, thallium, total dissolved solids (TDS), total organic carbon, UV absorbance, and zinc.
How to collect a sample for organic analysis.
Organic contaminants tested by the State Laboratory:
1,1,1-trichloroethane, 1,1,2- trichloroethane, 1,2- dichloroethane, 1,2,4-trichlorobenzene, 1,2-dibromo-3-chloropropane, 1,2-dichloroethylene, 1,2-dichloropropane, 1,4- dichlorobenzene, 2,4,5-tp, alachlor, atrazine, benzene, benzo(a)pyrene, bromodichloromethane, bromoform, carbofuran, carbon tetrachloride, chlordane, chlorobenzene, chlorodibromomethane, chloroform, cis- 1,2-dichloroethylene, dalapon, di-2(ethylhexyl) phthalate, di-2(ethylhexyl)adipate, dibromoacetic acid, dichloracetic acid, dichloromethane, dinoseb, dioxin, diquat, endothall, endrin, ethylbenzene, ethylene dibromide, glyphosate, heptachlor, heptachlor epoxide, hexachlorobenzene, hexachlorocychlopentadiene, lindane, methoxychlor, monobromoacetic acid, monochloroacetic acid, oxamyl, pentrachlorophenol, picloram, polychlorinated biphenyls pcb, simazine, styrene, tetrachloroethylene, toluene, total haloacetic acids, total trihalomethanes, total xylenes, toxaphene, trans- 1,2,- dichloroethylene, trichloroacetic acid, trichloroethylene, and vinyl chloride.
How to collect a sample for bacterial analysis.
Search for all state-certified laboratories.
Contact your local health department to find out about any other requirements before collecting a well water sample. If you wish to test for nitrates/nitrites, consider collecting and submitting your sample early in the week to avoid a weekend delay that may cause the sample to be rejected.
|Last updated January 15, 2013|