Test Your Well Water

Private well owners are solely responsible for the safety and quality of their drinking water. 

At a minimum, drinking water should be tested every year or so.  DEQ has developed a guideline to provide basic information to well owners interested in testing their drinking water wells.  Find a laboratory.

Testing more than once a year may be warranted in special situations:
-There are unexplained illnesses in the family,
-Someone in your household is pregnant or nursing,
-You note a change in water taste, odor, color or clarity,
-There is a spill of chemicals or fuels into or near your well,
-Your neighbors find a contaminant in their water.

The laboratory you choose should provide specific sampling instructions and clean bottles to collect the water sample. Carefully follow instructions for taking samples. Sampling is the most important part of testing. A carelessly collected sample can give you inaccurate results.  Check with individual laboratories to get prices. Ask how soon you should expect results and about the information that will be provided with the test results. A good lab should help you interpret the results and make sense of the scientific data.

The important question is whether a contaminant poses a health threat.  Compare your water test results to the safe drinking water levels.  This link also provides information on potential health effects associated with various drinking water contaminants.  Upon receiving water test results, ask the lab if there are any contaminants that present a health risk.

It is a good idea to follow-up with a second test before you decide if any water treatment is needed. When considering a water treatment device, make sure its specifications match up to the substances and concentrations you wish to treat. Also, there are performance testing programs for treatment systems, such as the NSF International.

The Wyoming Department of Agriculture has additional information about sampling your wells:

Water Programs Web Page
Collecting Water Sample at Home Video

Other Sources of Information for Well Owners:

Water Well Problems and Treatment

The "Private Well Class"

Wellowner.org (National Ground Water Assoc.)

National Environmental Services Center at West Virginia University

Water Systems Council

US EPA

Water Well Protection Fact Sheets

Introduction

Sources of Contamination

Well Maintenance

Siting New Wells

Septic Systems

Setbacks for Water Wells

Well Construction

Plugging Abandoned Wells