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well water testing

Well Water Testing

Water tapped by a private well is often of the highest quality. When buying a home with a private well, your home inspection should include a water quality test. Many tests are available. If a test item is not on the list of commonly used test lists we can put you in contact directly with the lab for custom testing combinations. Make sure your well meets water quality standards in Newark, Middletown, Smyrna, Dover, Elkton, or wherever you have a private well.

Drinking Water Test Kits

  • FHA/VA (Phila. Epa Parameters)

       Bacteria, E. coli, pH, Iron, 1st Draw Lead, 2nd Draw Lead, MBAS, Total Solids, Nitrate/Nitrites

  • State of Delaware (includes New Castle County Complete) Bacteria, pH, Nitrate, Iron, Chloride

  • Chester County Complete Bacteria, Turbidity, Color, Odor Nitrate/Nitrite, Iron, Manganese, Chloride, MBAS

  • Homeowners Basic Total Coliform Bacteria, Nitrate, pH, Hardness

  • Homeowners Special Total Coliform Bacteria, pH, Nitrate, Hardness, Iron, Manganese

  • Homeowners Plus Total Coliform Bacteria, pH, Nitrate, Hardness, Iron, Manganese, 1st Draw Lead, 2nd Draw Lead

  • Homeowners Deluxe Bacteria – total coliform/colilert, Lead, pH, Nitrate, Surfactants  (MBAS), Chloride, Iron, Copper, Hardness, Turbidity, Volatiles scan

       (EPA 524)

This list is just some of the commonly requested water tests.  If you require a test not listed, call our office and we can put you in contact directly with the lab.

PA & DE Water Test Guide

Maryland Water Test List



Turbidity:  Provides a standard means for measuring dirtiness of water.


Color:  Color in water results from the presence of metals, organic matter, and other dissolved or suspended materials.


Odor:  Odor is recognized as a quality factor affecting the acceptability of drinking water (and foods prepared with it).


PH:  Sometimes used in fresh water as the indicator of corrosiveness.  Dissolved carbon dioxide often causes water to become a mild acid which causes degradation of plumbing systems and fixtures, pH of 7 is considered neutral, less than 7 acids, above 7 alkalines.


Nitrate:  High levels of nitrates in water indicate biological wastes in the final stages of stabilization or run-off from heavily fertilized fields.  Drinking waters containing excessive amounts of nitrates can cause infant methemoglobinemia (blue babies).


Nitrite:  Nitrites are not often found in surface waters because they are readily oxidized to nitrates.  The presence of large quantities of nitrites indicates partially decomposed organic wastes in the water being tested.


Iron:  Iron in domestic water supply systems stains laundry and porcelain, causing more of a nuisance than a potential health hazard.


Manganese:  Occurs naturally in many areas.  Presents more of a usability problem than a health hazard.  Causes dark stains in plumbing systems and laundry.  Causes bad tastes and coats the interior of pipes and valves.


Chloride:  High chloride concentrations in water are not known to have toxic effects on human beings, though large amounts may act corrosively on metal pipes and be harmful to plant life.


Detergents:  Causing foaming problems. Does not usually occur naturally.  The most common source is domestic usage eg: wash water, drain fields, etc.


Hardness:  From the domestic standpoint, hard water consumes excessive quantities of soap, forming curds and depositing a film on hair, fabrics, and glassware.


Waters with a total hardness in the range of:

0 to 60 mg/l = soft

60 to 120 mg/l = medium hard

120 to 180 mg/l = hard

above 180 mg/l = very hard


Total Coliform:  This is the most common and basic test for health hazard bacteria contamination.  This test indicates the sanitary condition of a water supply Coliform Bacteria should not be present in a drinking water supply.  Results are given as the number of colonies per 100 ml of water.


Acceptable levels are not more than 0 per 100 ml.


Fecal Coliform:  The fecal coliform test will differentiate between coliforms of fecal origin (intestines of warm-blooded animals) and coliforms from other sources.


The fecal coliform procedure is not recommended as a substitute for the coliform test in the examination of potable waters, because no coliform bacteria of any kind should be tolerated in drinking water. These common items are a sampling of the items that can occur in drinking water other sources of information are available through the Testing laboratory.



1.  At wellhead, pour in 2 cups of bleach for the 1st 50' and 1 cup for every 50' thereafter.


2.  In the house, turn on all faucets and run the cold water until you can smell the bleach.  Turn off faucets and allow to sit 24 hours.


3.  Run out chlorinated water by hooking up an outside garden hose to prevent chlorinated water from entering the septic field.  This process may take 1 to 3 days depending on the well.


4.  When chlorinated water is flushed out the bacteria sample may be taken.

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