Municipal water systems test their water regularly to ensure that it is safe, but there are no regulations that govern water quality in private wells. You, as a private well owner, are responsible for making sure that your water is safe by testing it regularly. It is one of the simplest things you can do to take care of the health and well being of yourself and those you love!
While most wells provide a clean, safe supply of water, there is always a chance that you could have contaminants polluting your system. Your water may be crystal clear and still contain pathogens – microbes, fungi and/or bacteria – that can be harmful to your health.
Some contaminants do not cause a health issue, but make the water aesthetically displeasing and/or impair the operation of modern appliances. It is important to note that contaminated water does not necessarily taste, smell or look different from safe drinking water. Further more water that has an unpleasant odor or taste is not necessarily unhealthy. Only proper analysis can provide certainty in this matter.
Surface water and groundwater change constantly and this can cause multiple affects on your water supply. A well that tests fine one month may test differently six months later. Even if you find that your water is safe, testing on a regular basis is a good way to establish a water quality record and maintaining your well. Most experts including the EPA recommend annual testing of your private well water.
Water Quality Testing is required by many banks and mortgage lending institutions including FHA/VA and HUD mortgages. Although the lab results are usually available in within 5 business days, the labs can need sometimes up to 7 days to run certain tests. To avoid re-testing delays, please check with your lender for it’s water quality testing requirements before the inspection.
$120 (A) Basic Bacteria Water Scan
Tests for Coliform bacteria, fecal/e.coli.
$220 (B) Standard FHA/HUD Mortgage Requirements
The Standard Scan is designed to meet the needs of most banking and local government agencies. It is less thorough than other testing, but generally meets the needs of those who whose priority is closing on the purchase of a new home. One must remember that this more limited testing will not reveal contaminants that can affect the water quality and are revealed in the more extensive Health Scan and Comprehensive Scan. The Standard FHA Scan is probably our most popular scan for Annual Testing. In many cases it is the right choice. Providing that you have had more extensive testing in the recent past which revealed no issues with contaminants such as VOC’s, microbiology or radon, this testing is probably a good choice. Depending on the surrounding environment you may want to consider more extensive testing one every 5 or 10 year.
$320 (C) Comprehensive Water Scan
Recommended for First Time Testing of Private Well Water.
For those who have not recently checked their well water or are doing so for the first time, The Comprehensive Scan is for testing where none of the three factors listed in the Health Scan apply. That is, there is not any odor, taste and color; a properly constructed modern well; and there are no health issues in the household. In that case this testing is probably adequate. This is probably the correct level of testing for you annual inspection
$420 (D) Comprehensive Health Water Scan
The Comp. Health Scan is designed to check for those contaminants most often found in water. The one set of circumstance which would make this level of testing inadequate is where a significant amount of industrial contamination can be present or dump site (either authorized or unauthorized) is or has been present nearby. This Scan is particularly recommended if one of the following circumstances apply:
- There is any odor, taste or color to the water
- The well is not properly constructed or is very old (see here for details)
- There inadequately explain health issues among your household (people or animals)