Questions and Answers about Private
Well Water Testing
What should I test my private well
Water Quality Fact Sheets
Every well should be tested once a year for:
If you live in an agricultural area (or in an area where pesticides
are commonly used) or have a shallow well, you should also test
your well for the following:
- ethylene dibromide (EDB)
- 1,2-dichloropropane (1,2-DCP)
- 1,2-dibromo-3-chloropropane (DBCP)
- Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOC) - this test will detect
1,2-dichloropropane (1,2-DCP) along with a wide range of other
- Nitrate and coliform bacteria tests provide a good idea of
the overall water quality of your well at a reasonable cost.
The presence of nitrates or coliform bacteria in a well can
result in serious immediate health problems.
- If any test is unsatisfactory, we recommend you consider
repeating that specific test.
Where do I go to have my water tested?
How much does the testing cost?
The price range for testing is $18.00 - $350.00 depending on
the laboratory and what compounds you would like to have tested.
We recommend you call several labs.
How do I collect the sample?
Where should I sample?
The sample should be taken as close to the well head as possible.
It should be collected before treatment, before the distribution
system and before pressure tanks. If you take the sample from
the tap, let the water run for a few minutes (about 3) until
the temperature is stable. Before collecting the water, be sure
to take off any filters, screens, aerators and vacuum breaker
from the tap. Remember not to touch the inside of the sample
When should I sample?
To assure accurate results, take your sample to the lab as soon
as possible after collecting it.
How long will it take to receive the
The standard turn around time is 14 days, but it may take longer
depending on the number of samples there are to process. Please
contact the lab for more information on this subject.
For more information:
If you have any additional
questions, contact Whatcom County Health Department at (360) 676-6724.
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