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Well Testing


Public Well Testing Form (PDF)

Private Well Testing Form (PDF)

Shock Chlorination Procedure (PDF)

Sampling Procedure (PDF)

EPA Drinking water Limits (PDF)

Private Well Owners

The EPA recommends private well owners test their wells a minimum of once per year for coliform/E. coli bacteria and nitrates. The location of the home, well depth and condition of the well may require more frequent testing along with a wider range of contaminants. Additional tests can be conducted for private well owners if they want to determine what type of drinking water treatment system to install, measure how effective the current treatment is working or if you’re just concerned about what’s in your drinking water. Here are some the tests that can be conducted on your drinking water; organic contaminants, herbicides, pesticides, metals, radionuclides, hardness, sulfur, pH and many more. Turn-around time for bacteria and nitrate tests are 24 hours, additional tests will take 5-10 working days.

Analytes: Coliform/E. Coli Bacteria, Nitrates and additional analytes as requested.

Real-estate Professionals

The typical home purchase requires only testing for Coliform/E. coli bacteria and nitrate. If Federal money is involved in the purchase of a home, then you’re typically required to test for bacteria/E. coli, nitrate, nitrite and lead. Should you have any questions regarding what testing is required, please contact your lender or underwriter. There is nothing more discouraging to home owners and Realtors alike then having a closing delayed because the correct testing was not completed in time. The bacteria and nitrate testing turnaround time is 24- hours. Nitrite testing 72 hrs. and lead testing 10 days (can be rushed.).

Analytes: Coliform/E. coli Bacteria and Nitrates, Federal Loans include nitrite and lead.

Well Drillers, Water Treatment Installers, Plumbers, Inspectors

QCE offers two types of bacteria testing to our customers. The typical bacteria test is usually conducted as a present absent test, unless there is concern of bacterial contamination or the previous sample(s) tested positive. In this case the bacteria samples can be analyzed by an enumeration method. The enumeration method will provide the number of bacteria colonies present from < 1 – 2419 colonies along with the number of E. coli present. This can be helpful when determining the effectiveness of well treatment processes or end stage water treatment systems. Additional tests can be conducted based on your needs and treatment systems.

Analytes: Coliform/E. coli Bacteria and Nitrates, Coliform/E. coli testing enumeration methods.

My Results Did Not Pass

The limit for bacteria is either Absent or a colony count of < 1 cfu. If any bacteria are present the test fails. When a bacteria test fails we typically recommend purging the well by running water for a while and re-sampling or shock chlorinating the well then re-sampling, see the download Instructions for Drinking Water Treatment Options. In most cases shock chlorinating a well will take care of the problem for bacteria contamination.
The maximum EPA contaminant level (MCL) for nitrate is > 10 mg/L. If your nitrate level exceeds the MCL, then you’re probably going to have to install some form of drinking water treatment system. Usually an under the sink reverse osmosis system will remove nitrates and lead but other drinking water treatments systems are available. We would recommend talking to a well driller or water treatment expert.

For a complete list of EPA MCL for drinking water, please see Drinking Water MCL.

Public Well Testing Form
Private Well Testing Form
Shock Chlorination Procedure
Sampling Procedure
EPA Drinking water Limits

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