Private Well Testing

Price List – Private Well Testing

Although the majority of drinking water sources provide safe drinking water, all water contains varying amounts of both natural and synthetic contaminants. Many of these contaminants are beneficial or even essential to human nutrition. However, at elevated levels, certain contaminants have been linked to a variety of health problems.

Anatek Labs, Inc. routinely provides testing services to private well owners and individuals considering purchase of a home or other real estate that includes a drinking water well. Many of the contaminants included in the test package are the same contaminants that public water systems, such as city water systems, are required to monitor. This testing is performed at a reduced cost to serve the needs of our private well customers.

We can test private wells for the presence or absence of coliform bacteria, for an extensive list of inorganic contaminants (including lead, mercury, and other metals), and also for a variety of volatile and semi-volatile compounds, including pesticides, herbicides, and other man-made chemicals in the environment.

To get the most information about their water quality, homeowners should test their water during both the highest runoff and lowest runoff times of the year. It is likely that the results will differ for most parameters, and these values should represent the extremes in your water quality

We recommend that customers perform a private well test for coliform bacteria and inorganic contaminants if they are purchasing property with a well or want additional information about their current wells. Private well tests are reported directly to the homeowner or purchaser; these are not regulatory samples, and as such are not reported to the county or state health departments.

Information About Private Wells

The EPA website has more information about water quality, private wells, and drinking water contaminants.

Drinking Water Quality

Private Wells

Drinking Water Contaminants

Private well information is also available from the Washington Department of Ecology (Private Wells: Information for Owners) and the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (Private Wells).

This brochure provides a nice overview/explanation of the results of a private well test (Your Private Well: What Do The Results Mean?)

Information About Contaminants on the Private Well Test

The links below have more information about each of these tests.

Coliform Bacteria Presence/Absence

Inorganic Contaminants

Synthetic Organic Chemical and Pesticide Screening

Volatile Organic Chemical Screening

Herbicide Screening

Private Well IOC, SOC, VOC Screens (no herbicide)

Complete Private Well Water Screen (includes all tests listed above)

For pricing on private well testing services, see Price List – Private Well Testing

Additional information follows below:

Coliform Bacteria Presence/Absence

Bacteria are a common contaminant of well water. There are many types of bacteria, not all of which are harmful. A simple method to test water for bacteria is to use the coliform presence/absence test. A positive coliform test may indicate the presence of potentially harmful bacteria in your water. We recommend that private well owners test their water for bacteria quarterly. This method indicates whether or not coliform bacteria are present in the water sample, but does not estimate the extent of contamination. The method is sensitive down to 1 bacterial colony, and even 1 colony is considered unsatisfactory

A positive test results indicated that there is coliform bacteria in the water and there could be other harmful pathogens present. If your sample is positive for coliform bacteria, we will further test the sample for the presence of E. Coli. E. Coli is a member of the coliform bacteria family and is found in the intestinal tracts of warm blooded animals. A sample that is positive for E.Coli is suspected of being contaminated with fecal material.

For more information on microbiological testing and treatment, including a link to instructions for ‘shocking’ a well, please see our Microbiology page.

 


Inorganic Contaminants

Our private well inorganic contaminant testing package screens your water sample for the inorganic contaminants that are most likely to be found in drinking water. Community water systems test their finished drinking water for many of these same analytes. Our easy-to-read report includes information on each constituent as well as the EPA guidelines on contaminant limits where applicable. The following analytes are tested.

NITRATE is one of the most common natural contaminants in drinking water. Nitrate is naturally occurring in soil, and is therefore expected in varying levels in drinking water. Well water typically contains less than 5 mg/L nitrate, but higher levels are possible, especially in areas of high runoff and fertilizer use and/or decaying vegetable or animal mater. Levels higher than 10 mg/L are potentially harmful, especially to infants and young people. High nitrate levels have been known to cause serious health problems in infants under 6 months of age. This is due to the fact that nitrate is converted to NITRITE in the blood of infants, inhibiting the ability of blood to carry oxygen. This is known as “blue baby syndrome.” Nitrite is rarely encountered in drinking water. The presence of detectable levels of nitrite in drinking water indicates possible contamination from fertilizer or sewage.

FLUORIDE occurs naturally in many well water samples. At levels below 2 mg/L it is known to be beneficial to teeth and bones. Consuming water with fluoride levels above 4 mg/L for many years may result in ‘fluorosis,’ a potentially crippling bone disorder.

SULFATE and CHLORIDE occur naturally in well water at levels ranging from 1 to several hundred mg/L. These species are not a general health concern at levels normally found in drinking water. Above 100 mg/L, they can make water taste “salty.” Consumption of water with exceptionally high sulfate concentrations (>400 mg/L) may cause diarrhea or stomach aches in children or infants. Certain types of harmless bacteria transform sulfate into SULFIDE, which can lead to the familiar “rotten egg” sulfur smell found in some drinking water.

METALS enter water systems in a variety of ways. Metals such as iron, arsenic, barium, nickel and selenium are found naturally in mineral deposits and find their way into drinking water through runoff. Improper use or storage of materials containing cadmium, chromium and mercury can introduce these metals into drinking water. Corrosion of household plumbing often causes high levels of lead and copper in drinking water.

Some of these metals are only a nuisance when found in high levels in your drinking water, such as the red staining on fixtures from high iron levels. However, health experts have found that some of these metals cause health problems at high levels. Too much lead in the human body can cause serious damage to the brain, kidneys, and red blood cells, especially in young children. High mercury and cadmium levels have been linked to kidney and liver damage. Barium may cause heart and cardiovascular problems, and chromium may be harmful to the nervous and circulatory systems.

LEAD occurs naturally in groundwater, but is more often introduced into drinking water from corrosion in household plumbing. Slightly corrosive water flowing through pipes with lead solder, or water sitting for a long period of time in pipes may results in elevated lead levels (always let water run for 10-15 seconds before drinking). The EPA MCL (maximum contaminant limit) for lead is 0.015 mg/L. Higher levels could lead to brain damage, especially in children. Lead exposure is cumulative, meaning that lower exposure over a long period of time can result in detrimental health effects. Lead levels in household drinking water between 0.001 and 0.010 mg/L are common, with the majority being below 0.005 mg/L. Lead, in combination with sulfide, may cause a black gummy buildup around drains.

ARSENIC and BARIUM are naturally found in mineral deposits and well water. Arsenic is an acute toxin and potentially deadly at extremely high doses (100 mg single dose), and a cumulative toxin and possible human carcinogen at lower levels in drinking water (0.05 mg/L). In our area, arsenic is rarely detected in drinking water. Unlike arsenic, barium is not accumulated in the body and health effects are acute, resulting in gastrointestinal, neuromuscular, and cardiac problems. The EPA MCL for barium is 2 mg/L. In our area, barium is commonly found well below the EPA MCL.

CADMIUM, CHROMIUM, and MERCURY are introduced into drinking water by improper disposal of waste containing these chemicals. Cadmium can also come from corrosion of galvanized pipes. All three of these species are known to damage kidney function. It has been demonstrated that levels below the EPA MCL limits are safe with respect to health risks. These metals are not widely found in well water in our area.

NICKEL, SILVER and SELENIUM are naturally occurring metals and are rarely found in significant amounts in well water in this area of the country. Selenium is an essential nutrient at low levels, but consumption of water containing concentrations above the EPA MCL of 0.05 mg/L over a long period of time may result in adverse health effects. Consumption of high levels of nickel has been linked to heart and liver damage. The only known effect of large doses of silver is argyria, defined as a bluish-grey discoloration of the skin.

SODIUM is naturally occurring in all drinking water at a wide range of levels. The EPA does not have an MCL for sodium, but it is recommended that persons suffering from high blood pressure not consume water with levels of sodium greater than 20 mg/L for an extended period of time. Sodium will impart a salty taste to water at levels above 200 mg/L.

IRON is the second most common inorganic contaminant in well water, behind nitrate. Iron is essential to human nutrition and is not a health concern at levels encountered in normal drinking water. Iron is responsible for a metallic taste and also for orange staining of fixtures and sinks. Levels of iron in water can vary from 0.1 up to as much as 20 mg/L.

MAGNESIUM and CALCIUM occur at different concentrations in all natural water from 1 to as high as 200 mg/L, and relate directly to water hardness. Although these minerals may be beneficial to human health, a high value for either or both results in exceptionally hard water, a common nuisance for well owners.

HARDNESS is calculated from the concentration of magnesium and calcium in the water sample. Hardness values up to 50 are considered soft water. From 50 to 150 is moderately hard water, from 150-300 is hard, and greater than 300 is very hard water. Hard water may cause white staining of windows and other glass surfaces and may inhibit soap lathering. Hard water is NOT a health concern, and is very common in this area.

TDS is a measure of the total dissolved solids in your water. A TDS above 500 indicates a large amount of dissolved salts such as magnesium, calcium, nitrate, etc.


Synthetic Organic Chemical and Pesticide Screening

Testing is provided for a comprehensive list of pesticides and other organic chemicals of concern.


Volatile Organic Chemical Screening

Testing is provided for a comprehensive list of volatile organic chemicals.


Herbicide Screening

Testing is provided for a list of herbicides of concern.


Private Well IOC, SOC, VOC Screens (no herbicide)
(includes all tests listed above)


Complete Private Well Water Screen

Although the majority of drinking water sources provide safe drinking water, all water contains varying amounts of both natural and synthetic contaminants. Many of these contaminants are beneficial or even essential to human nutrition. However, at elevated levels, certain contaminants have been linked to a variety of health problems.

The three general classes of contaminants in drinking water are inorganic, bacterial and organic. Nearly all contaminants of concern in private well water are bacterial or inorganic. Anatek Labs, Inc. has developed an inorganic testing package at a reduced cost to serve the needs of our private well customers. Many of the contaminants included in the package are the same contaminants that public water systems, such as city water systems, are required to monitor. A list of these contaminants can be found in the Tests and Prices section of this brochure.

Metals enter water systems in a variety of ways. Metals such as iron, arsenic, barium, nickel and selenium are found naturally in mineral deposits and find their way into drinking water through runoff. Improper use or storage of materials containing cadmium, chromium and mercury can introduce these metals into drinking water. Corrosion of household plumbing often causes high levels of lead and copper in drinking water.

Some of these metals are only a nuisance when found in high levels in your drinking water, such as the red staining on fixtures from high iron levels. However, health experts have found that some of these metals cause health problems at high levels. Too much lead in the human body can cause serious damage to the brain, kidneys, and red blood cells, especially in young children. High mercury and cadmium levels have been linked to kidney and liver damage. Barium may cause heart and cardiovascular problems, and chromium may be harmful to the nervous and circulatory systems.

Bacteria are also a common contaminant of well water. There are many different types of bacteria, not all of which are harmful. The simplest method to test water for bacteria is to use a coliform presence/absence test. A positive coliform test result may indicate the presence of potentially harmful bacteria in your water. A negative result indicates that there is good reason to believe that the water is free of disease-causing bacteria.


Price List – Private Well Testing

Private Well Testing Chain of Custody: COC – Private Well