Ohio State University Extension http://ohiowatersheds.osu.edu

Ohio Watershed Network

Ohio State University Extension

For Well Owners

There are a number of materials here that may be helpful for understanding how to test, understand and protect your well water.

Test

The first step in caring for your well water is to have it tested.  If you are visiting this site and have not had your water tested, you should arrange to have your water tested through a state certified water testing laboratory. A list of certified labs is available at the Ohio EPA website at http://www.epa.state.oh.us/ddagw/labcert.aspx

For a list of recommended water tests and testing strategies, consult either

Quick Tips on Well Water Testing:

  • The Ohio Department of Health recommends that private water system owners test a few parameters such as total coliform counts, E. coli, nitrates and arsenic on a regular basis to maintain a record of water quality and identify any changes to these parameters.
  • Any additional testing you need will depend on problems you are having or anything of local concern.  Information on these issues is available through your local health districts http://www.odh.ohio.gov/localhealthdistricts/lhdmain.aspx     Test after any treatment to see if the problem is resolved.

Understand

After you receive your test results, you will want to make sure you understand what the numbers mean.  The well water interpretation tool on this site can help you understand your test results.  You can also access information from the Ohio Department of Health.

Or at:

Residential Water and Sewage Program
Bureau of Environmental Health, 
Ohio Department of Health
Phone (614) 644-1898
Fax (614) 466-4556
BEH @ odh.ohio.gov
 
Or contact your local health district office.

Quick Tips on Understanding Your Well Water Test Results:

  • If you what to understand more about your well (e.g., depth, aquifer type, etc.), you may want to access your well log which is a record of the construction of the well.  The well log information is maintained by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Water, phone: (614) 265-6739.

For information on safety and health, review  http://www.odh.ohio.gov/odhprograms/eh/water/pwstypes/wells.aspx

Ohio has state wide health based water quality standards for private water systems.  The only enforceable standard is for bacteria.

  • Total coliform
    • >4MPN requires cleaning and disinfecting
  • E. coli
    • >1 MPN A health based standard has been established which is NO detection of E. coli, if present professional disinfection is recommended

Protect

Once you understand more about the quality of your well water and the aquifer you will want to safely maintain and protect both your well and the ground water.

Quick Tips on Maintenance

You must use a registered private water system contractor to install, alter and repair your well.  For a list of these contractors, go to:  http://www.odh.ohio.gov/odhprograms/eh/water/PrivateWaterSystems/List-of-PWSContractors.aspx

  • When doing construction or alteration of your well, you or your contractor must obtain a permit through a local health district.
  • Keep a well file with records of all testing and work done on the well;
  • Avoid physical contact with well to prevent damage to the well casing (e.g., from lawn mowers, cars, pets);
  • Maintain isolation distances from sources of contamination such as sewage treatment systems, fuel or gas storage tanks, application of lawn fertilizers or pesticides;
  • Prevent ponding, limit pet waste around the well, minimize the use of pesticides, fertilizers, and other lawn and garden chemicals around your well;
  • Having sewage treatment systems inspected and maintained regularly;
  • Check your well regularly and make sure the ground slopes away from your well and that cap and casing are in good condition (no cracking and holes).  If you don’t already have one, consider installing a weatherproof well cap that has a rubber gasket and seal to prevent the entrance of insects.
For more information on maintenance and treatment