IL Public Health, Water Survey, recommend yearly testing for private wells

CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WCIA) — State health and water survey officials are reminding owners of public wells to test their water for potential contaminants.

Officials said wells that are properly constructed and well maintained can provide safe water for years. However, contamination can occur due to improper construction or maintenance, along with contamination of a well’s aquifer.

Manty contaminants cannot be detected by sight, taste or smell. Officials said that even if there is no indication or a problem, it is the well owner’s responsibility to properly maintain the well and regularly test the water.

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“Testing for contaminants is a simple and effective way to ensure that private wells are safe and do not pose a health risk,” said IDPH Director Dr. Sameer Vohra. “We encourage all private well owners to take the necessary steps to protect themselves and everyone in their households.”

“We tell well owners almost every day that testing is an essential part of protecting their drinking water and in being a good steward of their water supply,” said Steven Wilson, groundwater hydrologist with the Illinois State Water Survey. “Being informed by understanding how your well works, where your water comes from, and how to take care of your water system is the best way to protect your family’s drinking water and health.”

Potential contaminants in private wells include bacteria, nitrate and nitrite, metals, pesticides, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and “forever chemicals — per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The IDPH recommends testing for bacteria and nitrate/nitrite every ear and for metals every three years.

Most local health departments offer affordable sampling tool kits for bacteria and nitrate/nitrite testing, while commercial labs are available for testing for metals, VOCs and PFAS. This testing is expensive and the DPH can help assess whether testing is recommended.

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