Are you one of the more than 3 million private well users in NC? Most wells have never been inspected or tested for more than bacteria, even when state and local agencies knew of nearby contamination sites.
We work towards strengthening protections for well users throughout the state through outreach, public education, well-testing, and advocating for local & state policies!
The NC Department of Health and Human Services' Occupational and Environmental Epidemeology Branch is an excellent resource for questions regarding private well water quality and testing. Visit their website, or contact staff directly at (919) 707-5900.
You can also search in the map below for your county's Environmental Health Director contact information! They can help you directly with any questions you may have about well water quality concerns or testing questions:
When should a well be tested?
All newly constructed wells drilled after July 2008 in NC are rquired to be tested by the State Laboratory of Public Health or a state-certified laboratory (search for one below!) before becoming a drinking water source.
The NC Dept. of Health and Human Services recommends that all private well users test their water after repairs or replacements to well components or following flooding events.
How often should I test my well water?
Every Year: Test for total and fecal coliform bacteria
Every Two Years: Test for heavy metals, nitrates, nitrites, lead and copper
Every Five Years: Test for pesticides and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). If you know a particular pesticide that is applied in your area, test yearly
Other special circumstances that may require a well to be tested include:
- If you are pregnant or have an infant at home, test your water for nitrates. If your test comes back positive for nitrates in your well water, avoid drinking it or using it to prepare baby formula. Note: Boiling water does not remove nitrates.
- If you know that other folks in your area are experiencing issues with their well water
- If you’ve experienced flooding, land disturbances, or are impacted by nearby waste disposal sites
- If you notice changes in water quality, including taste, color, odor
Important Private Well User Resources
Certified Drinking Water Labs. CWFNC recommends using only state certified drinking water labs to test the quality of your water. Testing kits you receive in the mail are often associated with water filter marketing schemes! We can work with you to find a certified lab to test your water.
Connect with Other NC Well Users. If you are a residential well user, and would like to connect with other NC well users to work for stronger well protections and more funding to help well users of modest means get safe replacement water, we'd love to hear from you! Clean Water for NC is building an “NC Well Users Network”, and we’ll be in touch soon about steps we can take together to help ensure millions of NC well users the right to safe water!
Take the anonymous Private Well User Survey! Although exposure to naturally occurring and man-made contaminants in North Carolina groundwater is known to pose public health risks, private wells are not regulated under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. To help us better understand community needs and concerns, we are inviting all individuals who rely on a private well for their drinking water source to participate in our ongoing, anonymous Private Well User Survey.
Prepare for an Active Atlantic Hurricane Season. NC DHHS put together this helpful infographic to direct private well users to important resources for protecting their drinking water before the next flood. Learn important tips for preparing your well prior to a flooding event and what to do afterwards, including information on shock chorination. You can contact DHHS directly to learn more at (919) 707-5900.