Photograph of  a loose, unsanitary well plumbing system exposed to surface water runoffr  © DJ Friedman Information Sources for Drinking Water & Household Wells

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Where to find information about a particular water well: history, location, contamination, treatments, local or area well problems that may affect the well.

Our page top photo shows a well driller repairing submersible pump wiring at the well head.

Don't neglect local well drilling and plumbing experts and local water test laboratories as sources of local information about your individfual well as well as about local water conditions & contaminants.

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Where to Find Out More About Water Contamination: Sources of Information on Well Water

Open water well or cistern in a home basement - unsanitary (C) InspectApediaThe many linksat the end of this article and within this EPA article provide extensive and detailed articles on water testing, correcting bad water, and related topics -- DF

To find out more about your watershed and its ground water visit "Surf Your Watershed" at Also look at the "Index of Watershed Indicators" at

These websites can also tell you possible sources of problems. Companies with permits to release their wastewater in your area are listed. You can see if they meet pollution control laws. You can also learn how your watershed compares to others in the country.

Our well photo at left shows an open ... well we're not sure. It look s like a home-made dug well or cistern in a building basement. It is very unlikely that this well can provide reliably sanitary water.

  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture and EPA support a program to help farmers, ranchers and rural homeowners. Called Farm*A*Syst or Home*A*Syst, it helps identify and solve environmental problems, including protecting drinking water. Obtain a copy of the Home*A*Syst questionnaire/ checklist that can help you find possible threats to your water supply from:
  • National Farm*A*Syst/Home*A*Syst Program 303 Hiram Smith Hall 1545 Observatory Drive Madison, WI 53706 Ph: 608.262.0024, Fax: 608.265.2775
  • For more information on current and future federal drinking water standards and for general information on drinking water topics and issues, contact the EPA at or at:
  • U .S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20460

Or call:

The Safe Drinking Water Hotline (800) 426-4791 The hotline operates from 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM (EST) The hotline can be accessed on the Internet at

You can get a list of Federal drinking water standards from the EPA website. In addition, the EPA Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water gives chemical and health risk information for a number of drinking water problems through its Safe Drinking Water Hotline (800) 426-4791.

This information is also on the internet at If you do not have a computer, most public libraries offer internet access. Even though federal standards do not apply to household wells, you can use them as a guide to potential problems in your water. Be aware that many states have their own drinking water standards. Some are stricter than the federal rules. To get your state standards, contact your state drinking water program or local health department.

Other sources of information include:

  • American Water Works Association
  • Ground Water Protection Council
  • Local plumbers or well drillers in your area
  • Local water testing laboratories in your area
  • National Rural Water Association
  • National Drinking Water Clearinghouse
  • Neighbors who also have properties served by private wells and water systems
  • Rural Community Assistance Program
  • U.S. Geological Survey
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service
  • Water Systems Council


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