Well Water Quality Testing
Scheduling & Selecting Your Well Water Water Quality Test
Water Quality Tests are available as add on items to a Home Inspection or as a stand alone service. If you need to order a Water test on its own, please call our office at 877-993-9100 to schedule.
Water Testing Helpful Hints & FAQS
When will I receive my report?
Reports can be expected three to five business days starting the day after the sample has been taken in most cases. VOC panels take up to two weeks to complete.
Where is the sample taken from?
Water samples are typically taken from a kitchen or bathroom tap. If the home has a reverse osmosis filter you MUST tell us prior, as we will draw from that location.
How can I schedule my water test?
We recommend calling our office at 877-993-9100 to coordinate a water test after you've viewed the testing menu.
What water test should I get?
If required by your mortgage company, they'll be able to tell you what components need to be tested for. If the test is for your own knowledge, we recommend reading the glossary below to determine what you'd like tested.
Do you need access into the home to take the sample?
We will need access into the home in order to draw the water sample. this should take no more than 20 to 30 minutes.
Do I need a water test if I'm not on a well?
Nope! (In most cases) The good news here is you probably don't need a well water test, although you can still choose to have your water tested.
While we are happy to discuss all possible testing options with you, we CANNOT choose the test for you. Please carefully review the following Test Options for your area and the associated Glossary below before making your decision.
Delaware and Pennsylvania Water Test List
Homeowners Basic (Formerly Water Quality I)
Total Coliform Bacteria, Nitrate, pH, Hardness
Total Coliform Bacteria, pH, Nitrate, Hardness, Iron, Manganese
Total Coliform Bacteria, pH, Nitrate, Hardness, Iron, Manganese, 1st Draw Lead, 2nd Draw Lead
Homeowners Deluxe (Formerly Water Quality II)
Bacteria – total coliform/colilert, Lead, pH, Nitrate, Surfactants (mbas), Chloride,Iron, Copper, Hardness, Turbidity, Volatiles scan (epa 524)**
Bacteria, pH, Nitrate, TDS, Manganese, Iron, Chloride, VOC's
Bacteria, Turbidity, Color, Odor, pH, 1st Draw Lead, Nitrate/Nitrite as N, Iron, Manganese, Chloride, MBAS
Chester County Complete
Bacteria, Turbidity, Color Odor, pH, Nitrates/Nitrite as N, Iron,
Manganese, Chloride, MBAS, Total Hardness
Bacteria, pH, Nitrate, Iron, Hardness, Manganese
State of Delaware
Bacteria, pH, Nitrate, Iron, Chloride
FHA/VA (Phila. EPA Parameters)
Total Coliform Bacteria, E. Coli Bacteria, pH, Iron, MBAS, Nitrate/Nitrate, 1st Draw Lead,
2nd Draw Lead, Total Solids
Total Coliform Bacteria & E. Coli Bacteria
Lead/Copper & pH
1st Draw Lead, Copper and pH
Radon Water Test
Tests for elevated radon gas levels in the property's water. The EPA recommends testing your water for radon if you are on a private well.
VOC Scan (Volitile Organic Compounds in Water)
Please allow two weeks turnaround time**
1, 2 – Dichloroethane
0 – Dichlorobenzene
1,1 – Dichloroethylene
cis- 1,2 – Dichloroethylene
trans- 1,2 – Dichloroethylene
1,2,4 – Trichlorobenzene
1,1,1 – Trichloreothane
1,1,2 – Trichloreothane
Maryland Water Test List
Maryland Water Testing Package A
Total Coliform Bacteria, Fecal Coliform Bacteria, Nitrate as Nitrogen, Nitrite as Nitrogen, Turbidity, Iron Free, and Total Chlorine pH (Acidity)
Maryland Water Testing Package B
Total Coliform Bacteria, Fecal Coliform Bacteria, Nitrate as Nitrogen, Nitrite as Nitrogen, Turbidity, Iron, 1st Draw Lead, Fluoride Free, and Total Chlorine, pH (Acidity)
Maryland Water Testing Package C
Total Coliform Bacteria, Fecal Coliform Bacteria, Nitrate as Nitrogen, Nitrite as Nitrogen, Turbidity, Iron, 1st Draw Lead, 1st Draw Copper, Free and Total Chlorine, pH (Acidity)
Quantitative Bacteria Package
Total Coliform Bacteria
Fecal Coliform Bacteria (including E.coli)
VOC Package (Volatile Organic Compounds)
26 Regulated Compounds
33 Unregulated Compounds
Comprehensive Metal Profile Package
Aluminum, Antimony, Arsenic, Barium, Beryllium, Cadmium, Calcium, Chromium, Copper, Iron, Lead, Magnesium, Manganese, Nickel, Potassium, Selenium, Silver, Sodium, Thallium, Zinc, Mercury, Hardness (Total), Hardness as CaCO3, Hardness as MgCO3, Fluoride, Chlorine (Free and Total), Silica, Sulfide
Glossary of Terms
E. Coli Bacteria
Escherichia coli are a large and diverse group of bacteria. Although most strains of E. coli are harmless, others can make you sick. Some kinds of E. coli can cause diarrhea, while others cause urinary tract infections, respiratory illness and pneumonia, and other illnesses. Still other kinds of E. coli are used as markers for water contamination (Source: CDC.gov).
Total Coliform Bacteria
Coliform bacteria are microbes found in the digestive systems of warm-blooded animals, in soil, on plants, and in surface water. These microbes typically do not make you sick; however, because microbes that do cause disease are hard to test for in the water, “total coliforms” are tested instead. If the total coliform count is high, then it is very possible that harmful germs like viruses, bacteria, and parasites might also be found in the water (Source: CDC.gov).
The pH level tells you how acidic or basic your water is. The pH level of the water can change how your water looks and tastes. If the pH of your water is too low or too high, it could damage your pipes, cause heavy metals like lead to leak out of the pipes into the water, and eventually make you sick (Source: CDC.gov).
Hardness (Hard Water)
Water hardness is the amount of dissolved calcium and magnesium in the water. Hard water is high in dissolved minerals, largely calcium and magnesium. Depending on the hardness of your water, after using soap to wash you may have felt like there was a film of residue left on your hands. In hard water, soap reacts with the calcium (which is relatively high in hard water) to form "soap scum" (Source: USGS.gov).
Nitrate is naturally found in many types of food. However, high levels of nitrate in drinking water can make people sick. Nitrate in your well water can come from animal waste, private septic systems, wastewater, flooded sewers, polluted storm water runoff, fertilizers, agricultural runoff, and decaying plants. High levels of nitrate or nitrite can decrease the ability of your blood to carry oxygen to your tissues. Infants younger than 6 months may be particularly at risk. Related symptoms can include decreases in blood pressure, increased heart rate, headaches, stomach cramps, and vomiting (Source: CDC.gov).
Lead is a toxic metal that is persistent in the environment and can accumulate in the body over time. Risk will vary depending on the individual, the chemical conditions of the water, and the amount consumed. Lead can enter drinking water when a chemical reaction occurs in plumbing materials that contain lead. This is known as corrosion – dissolving or wearing away of metal from the pipes and fixtures. This reaction is more severe when water has high acidity or low mineral content. You cannot see, taste, or smell lead in drinking water (Source: CDC.gov).
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
VOCs are industrial and fuel-related chemicals that may cause bad health effects at certain levels. Which VOCs to test for depends on where you live. Contact your local health or environmental department, or the EPA to find out if any VOCs are a problem in your region (Source: CDC.gov)
Copper (Cu) is an element and metal. It is essential for people to ingest small amounts of copper everyday in food and water. Ingesting too much or too little copper can lead to illness and/or disease. Ingesting a high amount of copper, usually in drinking water, can cause vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain, and/or diarrhea. Ingesting higher than recommended amounts of copper every day over time, such as in water can lead to severe illness, such as kidney and liver damage (Source: CDC.gov).
Iron is mainly present in water in two forms: either the soluble ferrous iron or the insoluble ferric iron. Water containing ferrous iron is clear and colorless because the iron is completely dissolved. When exposed to air in the pressure tank or atmosphere, the water turns cloudy and a reddish brown substance begins to form. Iron is not hazardous to health, but it is considered a secondary or aesthetic contaminant (Source: CDC.gov).
Manganese is a naturally occurring substance found in many types of rocks and soil. Well water may sometimes be contaminated with sufficiently high levels of manganese to create a potential health hazard. Illnesses involving the kidneys and urinary tract have been observed in laboratory rats fed very high levels of manganese. These illnesses included inflammation of the kidneys and kidney stone formation (Source: CDC.gov).
The MBAS (methylene blue active substances) index is an analytical convention (a method-defined parameter) used for water quality control purposes. It measures surfactants (detergent and foaming agents) and other substances that react with methylene blue under specified conditions (Source: ISO.org).
Chloride & Chlorine
Chlorination is the process of adding chlorine to drinking water to kill parasites, bacteria, and viruses. Different processes can be used to achieve safe levels of chlorine in drinking water (Source: CDC.gov) The presence of chlorine in the water sample will result in the sample to be rejected for analysis by the lab.
Radon (as pertaining to water)
Radon is an odorless, colorless, tasteless, naturally-occurring radioactive gas formed from the breakdown of uranium and thorium. Exposure to high levels results in an increased risk of lung cancer. Showering, washing dishes, and doing laundry can disturb the water and release radon gas into the air you breathe (Source: CDC.gov).
Turbidity is the measure of relative clarity of a liquid. It is an optical characteristic of water and is a measurement of the amount of light that is scattered by material in the water when a light is shined through the water sample. Excessive turbidity, or cloudiness, in drinking water is aesthetically unappealing, and may also represent a health concern. Turbidity can provide food and shelter for pathogens. If not removed, the causes of high turbidity can promote regrowth of pathogens in the water. (Source: USGS.gov)
Chlorinous, Bleachy, Chemical, or Medicinal Taste/Odor:
aused by the addition of chlorine to the water or interaction of that chlorine with a build-up of organic material in your plumbing system. C
Sulfurous, Decayed, or Sewage-like Taste/Odor:
There are two common causes of a sulfurous, decayed, or sewage-like taste or odor in the water: which are bacteria growing in your drain, or bacteria growing in your water heater.
Musty, Moldy, Earthy, Grassy or Fishy Taste/Odor:
There are two common causes of this kind of odor in the water: which are bacteria growing in your drain, or certain types of organisms growing in the public water supply.
Petroleum, Gasoline, Turpentine, Fuel-like or Solvent-like Odor: Although this problem is rare, it is potentially serious. It is possible that a leaking underground storage tank is near your well. Do not use the water (Source: Mass.gov)