Well Water Testing Vital for Safe Drinking Water

Oakland County Health Division reminds private well owners that the only way to be sure their drinking water is safe is to test it regularly for contaminants. The reminder comes during National Groundwater Awareness Week, March 6-12, 2016.

“Unlike public water supplies, private wells are not tested regularly by city or county officials,” said Kathy Forzley, manager/health officer of Oakland County Health Division. “Homeowners with private wells may not be aware of the risks that can occur. The only way to ensure safe drinking water is to test well water regularly.”

Testing Your Private Well Water Supply

Testing Your Private Well Water Supply

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations include testing wells for bacteria (total coliform), nitrate and nitrite annually. Also have your well tested if:

There are known problems with well water in your area

You have experienced problems near your well (i.e., flooding, land disturbances, and nearby waste disposal sites)

You replace or repair any part of your well system

You notice a change in water quality (i.e., taste, color, odor)

Water sample bottles can be purchased at Health Division offices for detection of bacteria for $6 and partial chemical (nitrate, nitrite, chloride, fluoride, and sulfate) for $5.

Other tests or testing frequency may be recommended based on geographic location or specific drinking water concerns. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Drinking Water Lab has additional tests available, including arsenic and lead, to ensure private water supply safety. State Lab bottles for arsenic and lead are also available at Health Division Offices, or by calling the State Lab at 517-335-8184. A list of local laboratories that test drinking water are also available at.

Health Division offices are located in Pontiac at 1200 N. Telegraph Road, Building 34 East, and Southfield at 27725 Greenfield Road and are open 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Call the Health Division Environmental Health Services at 248-858-1312 for more information. For up-to-date information, visit www.oakgov.com/health, follow the Health Division on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter @publichealthOC


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  1. For something that is so vital for life, I never thought that I should have my water tested annually. I guess it makes sense considering so many things can change over time. I just figured I would turn on the tap and fresh water would always be available. Makes me want to get my water tested as soon as possible.

  2. I can see how it would be vital for private ground water to be tested. However, I wasn’t aware that it was suggested to test the water every year. I wouldn’t want to be drinking contaminated water, so it makes sense!

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