Bacteria Contamination In Well Water

Most private wells provide a safe and uncontaminated source of drinking water. Some wells do, however, become contaminated with bacteria. Fortunately, certified labs can easily test water for coliform bacteria, a common indicator of bacterial contamination in wells. To ensure your well is not contaminated, it is a good idea to regularly test your water. You should have your water tested at least annually and whenever you notice a change in the taste, odor or color of the water.

Resources:

Information for Homeowners with Private Wells (DNR)

Private Well Information (CDC)

How Can I Tell If My Well Is Contaminated?

Contact the Winneabago County Health Department and we can assist in investigating well contamination issues (920-232-3000)

When should I test my well for bacteriological contamination?

The State Well Code requires all new wells to be tested for bacteriological quality. Wells must also be tested following the installation or reinstallation of a pump, or anytime a well is entered for repairing or reinstalling equipment within the well. Existing wells should be tested annually, after modifying the well in any way, or whenever there is any change in the taste, odor or appearance of the water.The best times of the year to test your well water are when it is most likely to be unsafe. Statistically these times occur following a period of heavy snowmelt in early spring or during the hot stagnant time of late summer and early fall. A test kit (including sampling instructions) may be obtained from any laboratory certified to test water for bacteriological contamination. For private well owners, certified bacteria labs can be found online at Wisconsin DNR Drinking Water Data or use the Certified Water Labs

Where can I obtain a water-sampling kit for bacteriological testing?

A test kit (including sampling instructions) may be obtained from any laboratory certified to test water for bacteriological contamination. Some certified labs in our area are below: 

  • Badger Labs and Engineering - 501 West Bell St Neenah WI 54956 (920) 729-1100 (Lab #205) (800) 776-7196  
  • Clean Water Testing - 1990 Prospect Ct Appleton WI 54914 (920) 733-7590 (Lab #291)
  • Fox Valley Quality Control Lab - 2224 American Dr Neenah WI 54956 (920) 731-5484 (Lab #239)
  • TG Analytical Labs - PO Box 170 N1022 Quality Dr Greenville WI 54942 (920) 757-1355 (Lab #452)
  • University of Wisconsin Oshkosh - Aquatics Research Laboratory - 783 Pearl Ave, Oshkosh, WI 54901 (920) 424-3148
Sources:
WI Department of Natural Resources - PUB-DG-003-2009