well water bannerDid you know that if you drink water from a residential well, it should be tested every year to make sure it is safe to drink? Did you know that water quality from a spring continually changes and may present a significant health risk? The only way to know if your water is safe to drink is to get it tested.

While public water systems are routinely testing for compliance with state drinking water regulations, the testing of water from individual wells or springs is the responsibility of each homeowner. If you do not receive a water bill, you may get your drinking water from well or spring and should consider testing.

Through a grant provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Madison County Health Department is providing FREE testing of residential wells, and other self-supplied water sources (also called individual onsite water systems) to Madison County residents.

Water testing is quick and easy. Simply contact the Madison County Health Department, and a member of our staff will arrange a visit to collect a water sample from your water system for testing.

Our professional staff will explain your test results to you and provide you with recommendations on how to improve the safety and/or quality of your water. A copy of the certified laboratory test results will also be provided to you.

The risk of your water becoming contaminated depends on several characteristics of your individual onsite water system including — how well it was built and where it is located, how well the source is protected, and how well water treatment is maintained. Your water quality also depends on your local environment, which can affect the quality of the water source from which you draw your water. Local activities including industrial, agricultural and human activities that occur in your area, could potentially impact the water you drink.

Madison County Health Department recommends testing your individual water system:

 Yearly for total coliform bacteria and nitrate. Coliform bacteria don’t usually cause illness, but they serve as an indicator that disease causing organisms can get into your well. Nitrates leach very easily through the soil to groundwater from farms, gardens, septic systems, animal yards, and manure piles. Nitrates are a health threat to infants consuming water (e.g. formula fed infants) with high levels.

 Whenever you notice a change in taste or color of the water;

 After work on the water system;

 If you notice the well cap is not secure;

 If you notice surface water standing around the base of the well

Primary funding for this free water testing program is provided through cooperative agreement CDC- RFA-15- 1507 between the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Madison County, NY Department of Health.

To request free testing of your individual onsite water system, contact the Madison County Health Department’s Environmental Health Division at 315.366.2526.

By martha

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