Testing your well
IS MY WELL PROPERLY BUILT?
Private wells can provide a clean, safe source of water if they are properly located, built, and maintained. Use a licensed well driller and follow the Idaho Department of Water Resources (IDWR) requirements for drilling a well. For a list of licensed well drillers visit: https://research.idwr.idaho.gov/apps/wellconstruction/licwelldrillers/
WHY SHOULD I TEST MY WELL?
It is your responsibility as a private well owner to ensure that the water is safe. Sources such as septic systems, farm animals, farm chemicals, and naturally occurring chemicals can contaminate your well water. High levels of contamination can put you and your family’s health at risk. Make sure your well water is safe by testing it.
HOW DO I TEST MY WELL WATER?
A certified lab will be able to test your well water for contaminants. Options in Southeast Idaho include:
3314 Pole Line Road
Pocatello, ID 83201
Magic Valley Labs
210 Addison Ave
Twin Falls, ID 83301
300 S Freeman Ave
Idaho Falls, ID 83401
WHAT CONTAMINANTS SHOULD I TEST FOR?
Idaho well water may contain several harmful contaminants. The table shows typical contaminants, how often you should test your well water for them, and treatment levels. If you live in an agricultural area and/or you have underground tanks with petroleum, it is recommended that you also test your well water for pesticides and/or petroleum. If your well is damaged or flooded, or if you notice significant changes in taste, smell, or color, get your well re-tested for contaminants.
|Type of Contaminant||When to Test||When to Treat|
|Bacteria||Once a year||Treat any amount|
|Nitrate||Once a year||If 10 mg/L or higher|
|Nitrite||Once a year||If 1 mg/L or higher|
|Arsenic||Once every 3 to 5 years||If 0.01 mg/L or higher|
|Uranium||Once every 3 to 5 years||If 30 µg/L or higher|
|Fluoride||Once every 3 to 5 years||If 4 mg/L or higher|
WHAT DO THE TEST RESULTS MEAN?
Typically, the lab results will tell you the level of a contaminant in your water. The table shows what levels are considered safe. If you have contaminant levels higher than those in the table, you should fix the problem. If you have pesticides or petroleum in your water please call the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare at 1-800-445-8647 for information on what test results mean.
HOW CAN I FIX A PROBLEM?
If you have a problem, you may need to disinfect your well, repair your system, find an alternative drinking water source, and/or install a water treatment device to remove contaminants. When installing a treatment system look for NSF International certified treatment devices.
HOW DO I KEEP MY WELL WATER SAFE?
Well maintenance is very important to keep your water safe. It is recommended that once a year you check your well covering, casing, and well cap for cracks and look for other areas where pollutants could enter your water. For treatment devices, follow the manufacturers’ suggested maintenance schedules. A “system maintenance log” can help you keep track of any water test results, as well as any construction and contractor details. A copy of a log is available online at environmentalhealth.dhw.idaho.gov.