Testing your well Water for Bacteria

There are many things in our lives that we tend to take for granted – for instance, the water we drink. If you use water from a private well, it is a good idea to have the water tested for bacterial contamination on a regular basis. Typically, ground water is clean and safe for consumption. However, contamination can occur during floods or there are problems with the well seal or well casing.

Testing Well Water for Microbiological Contamination

At the time of construction, all new wells must be disinfected to eliminate microbiological contamination. This should be done before the collection of a water sample for testing.

The best time to test the well water is when the contamination is likely to be the greatest. The best time to test the waters is early spring after thaw, heavy rains following after an extended drought, or after lengthy periods of non-use.

How is Testing Done?

Bacteriological testing of your well water is conducted either by a certified private laboratory or the provincial health lab in your area. You will be handed a clean and sterile sample bottle with necessary instructions. The sample must be refrigerated immediately and sent out to the lab within 24 hours. Contact Oakville Pump Service to help obtain, submit and interpret your water samples.

Interpreting the Results

The microbiological quality of your well water is determined by testing it for the presence of bacteria. These include E-coli and Total Coliform strains of bacteria. E. Coli bacteria are present naturally in the gut of animals and humans. Hence, their presence in your well water will indicate fecal contamination. Total Coliform is present in much of the environment and, while not always harmful, indicates that the water has been subject to contaminating influences.

Water containing any amount of E. coli and Total Coliform bacteria should not be used for drinking or cooking and the source of contamination should be identified as quickly as possible. If you suspect you have a well contaminated with bacteria or other contaminates, connect with Oakville Pump Service at 707-944-2471 to schedule a consultation.