Private Well Water

Most of us get our drinking water from municipal water treatment plants. This water is treated to kill germs and tested to make sure that it is safe to drink.

People living outside city areas may get their water from private wells. Homeowners are responsible for making sure that their wells are properly maintained and that their water is safe to drink. Protect yourself by:

You should regularly check your well to make sure that the cap is fitting tightly and that pipes, pumps, valves, storage tanks, meters and fittings are in good condition. Remember, it’s always best to stop a problem before it starts.

Getting Your Water Tested

If you get your water from a private well, you should have it tested at least 3 to 4 times a year. The most important time to test your well water is in the spring.

Where to Get Water Sample Bottles

Drinking water testing for private wells is free. You can pick up your free test kit at CK Public Health or at any municipal service centre. Find a list of service centre locations here. Your water sample needs to be brought into CK Public Health at 177 King Street East in Chatham.

How to Take a Water Sample

Keep the bottle closed until you are ready to take the sample and follow these easy steps:

  1. Remove any aerator or screen from the tap and run the water for 2-3 minutes
  2. Remove the cap from the sample bottle – do not touch the inside of the cap or the top of the bottle.
  3. Fill the bottle to the 200 ml line marked on the bottle – do not rinse the bottle or dump out the powder.
  4. Screw the cap on tight.
  5. Fill out the water sample form and attach it to the bottle.
  6. Keep the water sample cold, but not frozen, and bring it to CK Public Health.
Where to Bring Your Water Sample

You can bring it in Monday to Thursday 8:30AM to 4:30PM. If you bring it in on a Friday-it needs to be here before 11AM. For directions to our King Street location, click here

Understanding Your Well Water Test Results

You should receive your water sample results within 2 to 4 business days.

For help understanding your sample results and for advice on what to do next, contact CK Public Health. A public health inspector will follow up with you.

Making Sure Your Well is Secure

Wells don’t last for ever. Over time, they may become damaged or wear down. That’s why it is important to regularly check your well for structural issues. Some things to consider:

  • Is there a cap on the well and is it secure?
  • Are there cracks or damage to the well? 
  • Does the top of the well extend at least 40 cm (16 inches) above the ground?

If you notice damage to your well, contact a licensed well contractor for repairs.

It’s also important to be aware of potential sources of pollution that could cause your well water to become unsafe. Do these things to keep your well water safe:

  • Prevent water from pooling around your well
  • Keep grass around the well cut short
  • Do not plant gardens or crops near your well
  • Remove animal feces near your well
  • Keep fertilizer, paint, pesticides and motor oil away from your well