There seem to be countless tests that can be performed on your water, covering all the possible aesthetic, functional and health related issues listed above, as well as many others. When choosing what to test for and who should perform the test, you should take into account the location of your land in terms of geography, possible sources of contaminants, and prior land use.
A "state certified" lab can run tests for any individual parameters. In addition, they may have basic or standard test packages which are more economical, and cover the issues typically of concern in the area. The minimum test is for bacteria. The standard "package" may include iron, manganese, hardness, pH, nitrates, and some others. You will probably have to specifically request tests for arsenic, radon, or fluoride. Most residential sites do not need to run a full test VOC's (gasoline-type contaminants) or other industrial pollutants. However, if your property is near an industrial area, a gas station, or a main road, you may want to consider these tests. New Hampshire has some very high concentrations of radon gas in water. should you well test high for radon, you might also want to test for other radionuclides, such as radium and uranium. The state Lab can run a test called "Gross Alpha," or "Screen Alpha", which is a screening for these radionuclides.
Well Water Testing Frequently Asked Questions
Should I have my well tested?
Yes. In 1999-2000, contaminated private well water caused 26% of the drinking water outbreaks that made people sick. The US Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) rules that protect public drinking water systems do not apply to privately owned wells. Most states have rules for private wells, but these rules may not completely protect your private well. In other words, as a private well owner, it is up to you to make sure that your well water is safe to drink. Your local health or environmental department can help advise you.
When should i have my well tested?
Before you purchase a home. Then check your well every spring to make sure there are no mechanical problems; test it once every year for bacteria and once every two to three years for harmful chemicals. You should 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.
How do I find out if my well is contaminated?
The only way to find out if your well water is contaminated is to test it. You can contact your health or environmental department, or a private laboratory to test for bacteria and harmful chemicals. In some states, the drilling contractor must test a new well after it is built. However, as a well owner, it is up to you to maintain your well and have it tested regularly.
How do bacteria and chemicals get into my well water?
Bacteria and chemicals can get into your well water and contaminate it in different ways. Some bacteria and chemicals occur naturally. For example, heavy metals like arsenic, lead, and cadmium are naturally found in rocks and soil and sometimes seep into ground water. Other contaminants come from human and animal waste resulting from polluted storm water runoff, agricultural runoff, flooded sewers, or individual septic systems that are not working properly.
Link to EPA water testing information »
It is the clients responsibility to request the tests they want performed. There are other tests that could be performed, however ABC Home Inspection only offers testing noted below.
$299.00 Comprehensive Package: Tests for hardness, iron, manganese, chloride, sodium, nitrate, PH, coliform, E.Coli bacteria, color, odor, copper, lead, nitrite, arsenic, radon in water, calcium, fluoride, and turbidity.
$350.00 Comprehensive package plus: includes all above as well as magnesium, potassium and uranium.
$450.00 Comprehensive plus & VOC package: includes all above as well as VOC's.
$275.00 Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC's): Gasoline and solvent type compounds.
$150.00 Basic Test: Hardness, iron, manganese, chloride, sodium, nitrate, PH, Coli form and E.Coli bacteria.
$165.00 Basic Test with Arsenic: includes all above as well as arsenic.
$165.00 VA Test: hardness, iron, manganese, chloride, sodium, nitrate, PH, coliform, E.Coli bacteria and copper.
$195.00 VA Test with Arsenic: includes all above as well as arsenic.
$95.00 Uranium Analysis
$280.00 Toxic Metals Screen: antimony, arsenic, barium, beryllium, cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, selenium and thalium.
$195.00 Gross Alpha: total radioactivity in water due to radium and uranium.
$95.00 Lead or Arsenic in water only
$99.00 Radon Water Test: radon gas can enter a home through well water. It can be released into the air you breath when water is used for showering and other household uses. Research suggests that swallowing water with high radon levels may also pose risks. If you water is supplied by a well the EPA recommends that you have the water tested for radon.
* Prices above are in compliance with a home inspection, if you'd like to test without a home inspection prices may vary.
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