February 20, 2015

Well Water Testing

Who Analyzes The Water Samples?

The water samples collected at the time of inspection are picked up by Suburban Water Testing Labs in Reading, Pa shortly after the inspection for processing.  It takes five business days to process the samples. Some samples can be expedited (for an additional fee) in three to four days depending on the contaminant being tested. This lab performs all analyses of drinking water as a PA DEP certified and NELAP accredited laboratory.

What Does The Lab Test For?

The lab can test for many contaminants in the water and a test can be tailored around your needs; however, the most requested test is called the Domestic Suitability Screening.  This analysis tests for contaminants levels recommended by the EPA and Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection for public drinking water.  These agencies have no specific regulations for private wells; however, these levels can be used as a guideline for evaluating your water.

FHA/VA, typical lender minimum testing for the following contaminants:

  • Total Coliform Bacteria
  • E. Coli Bacteria
  • Lead
  • Nitrates/Nitrites

EPA Standard for public drinking water tests for the following contaminants:

  • Total Coliform Bacteria
  • E. Coli Bacteria
  • Lead
  • Iron
  • Nitrates/Nitrites
  • Iron
  • pH
  • Total Dissolved Solids
  • Hardness

What If Contaminants Are Found?

If the measured contaminants are above the EPA Maximum Contaminant Limits (MCL), then it is recommended to contact a water treatment professional and provide them with your report for treatment recommendations.  The treatment can range from simple to complex depending on what is detected.

Is Testing The Well Water Required?

If you are obtaining an FHA, VA or USDA mortgage, the FHA/VA testing is typically required as a minimum.  Some lenders will also require it on a conventional loan.  Check with your lender to determine their requirements.  Testing the Well water is highly recommended regardless of whether or not it is required by the lender.

Once you own the home, the EPA recommends retesting the water annually.  This is recommended not only for health purposes, but to also protect your water heater and plumbing fixtures from the damaging effects of low pH (acidic water) and hard water (calcium deposits.)