The importance of well water testing

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In Ontario, we are fortunate to have an abundance of drinking water, and it is important to conserve what we have. Not all drinking water sources in Ontario are safe, so it is important to test and install treatment if necessary. Our municipalities take good care of our municipal drinking water systems. If your drinking water comes from a private well, it’s up to you to test and possibly provide a treatment system for the water.

Spring is a great time to have your well water tested for bacteria. Runoff from heavy rain may affect the safety of your drinking water. Bacteria in your well water may not affect the taste or smell. Testing your well water is the only way to know for sure if your drinking water is safe. It is recommended that you test your well water at least three times a year for bacteria.

Sample bottles can be picked up at Eastern Ontario Health Unit locations, including the Winchester office located inside the Community Care Building at 530 Fred Street, Suite A. Note that sample bottles can only be dropped off in Winchester from Monday to Wednesday, between the hours of 8:30-12:00, and 1:00-1:30. 

If the testing shows that the well water is contaminated with bacteria, some actions may be required to protect your health. The EOHU website contains instructions on how to disinfect your well, and information on different types of treatment units that can be installed.

In addition to bacteria, some chemical elements that can affect health may also be found in your well water. The most common chemical elements that can affect your health and may be found in Canadian well water are: nitrate and nitrite, sodium, naturally occurring manganese, arsenic, uranium and lead.

If you are concerned with chemical contamination of your well water, contact a private laboratory for testing. For more information, you can visit the Canadian Drinking Water Guidelines page on Canada.ca or the EOHU website at eohu.ca

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