Have You Checked Your Well Water this Year?

Posted on February 28, 2018

Well ownership comes with the responsibility of ongoing maintenance

In recognition of Groundwater Awareness Week, March 11-17, the Somerset County Board of Freeholders and Department of Health want to remind homeowners with private wells about the importance of regularly testing their drinking water.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends testing your household well every year for: coliform bacteria, nitrates, total dissolved solids, and pH levels. These substances and characteristics of well water can be quantified through routine laboratory testing.

Homeowners may consider testing their well more frequently if any members of the household are pregnant, or if there are infants and young children present. It is also prudent to test your well water after any repairs or if you notice a significant change in the odor, color, or taste of the water.

The Somerset County Department of Health urges residents to contact their local health department for information regarding testing guidance based on water quality trends that may be specific to their neighborhood. It is recommended that all well owners conduct a full range of tests at least once, even in areas with no known environmental concerns. This will help establish a record of your water quality which may be helpful with resolving future problems relating to well system treatment, repairs, or other environmental issues.

Somerset County residents have several options for well testing. For example, residents can purchase discounted test kits through the Raritan Headwaters Association (RHA). These test kits assess contaminants such as arsenic, lead, or volatile organic compounds. The RHA will be hosting several community events this spring for New Jersey residents. For a listing of dates and locations, go to www.testmywell.org or call the Well Testing Office at 908-234-1852, ext. 401.

Homeowners may also opt to hire a private lab for their well water testing. For a list of certified water-testing laboratories, visit the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s website at http://www.nj.gov/dep/enforcement/oqa/certlabs.htm

Wells have the ability to provide high-quality drinking water, and about half the U.S. population receives their drinking water from private wells. However, with well ownership comes the responsibility of ongoing maintenance. Some well maintenance tips include: checking the visible parts of your well system for cracks or leaks, maintaining your septic system, and taking care to avoid mixing or using pesticides, fertilizers or other chemicals near your wellhead. These actions can all contribute to the protection of your water supply.

Homeowners should also avoid flushing chemicals down drains, especially if your home also uses a private septic system. Inspection checklists and information on safely maintaining a private well are available at www.wellowner.org

For more information on recommended well testing for your area, contact your local health department. A directory of local health departments and additional safe-drinking water information can be found on the Somerset County Department of Health website at www.co.somerset.nj.us/health Or, contact Somerset County Environmental Health Coordinator Jonathan Durland at (908) 231-7155 or durland@co.somerset.nj.us

Source: Somerset County Dept. of Health