|Well maintenance and how often to test|
The NC Department of Health and Human Services recommends testing your well water every year for coliform bacteria, every two years for heavy metals, nitrates, nitrites, lead, copper, and volatile organic compounds, and every 5 years for pesticides.1
More frequent testing is recommended if you suspect contamination or if there is a hazardous spill in your area.
View recent well-testing results
How to identify possible contaminants and common well problems
When to test your well waterAll newly constructed private wells in North Carolina must be tested by the North Carolina State Laboratory of Public Health or a certified laboratory prior to establishing the well as a source of drinking water. Well water should also be tested after repairs or replacements to any of the well components and after flooding events, since contaminants may enter your well when it is opened or if the wellhead is underwater.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), well owners should also perform a physical assessment of the wellhead and casing once a year to make sure there are no mechanical or structural problems.
Well water should also be tested once each year for coliform bacteria. Testing for other contaminants such as heavy metals, nitrates, nitrites, lead, copper, and VOCs should occur every two years. Testing for pesticides should be performed every 5 years. If you suspect contaminants other than those that you are scheduled to test, you should test for those as well.
You should also have your well tested if:
There are guidelines for collecting water samples of well water in order to prevent cross-contamination and to preserve the sample for laboratory analysis. Find out more about how to test your well water or contact your local health department for more information about how to sample your well water.
Chart of common well problems
Some contaminants in drinking water can cause changes to the appearance, taste, or smell of water. Some water quality issues may also be noticeable because they cause illness or damage plumbing and appliances. Other contaminants may not cause any noticeable changes to your water, but they may still be present in levels that are unsafe to drink.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends testing private drinking water supplies regularly to identify contamination problems early and avoid long-term health effects or damage to your plumbing or well components.3 The EPA also advises all well owners to be aware of activities in the nearby watershed that may affect the quality of the water in your drinking well. Below is a chart of common reasons to test your well water.
|Last updated January 15, 2013|