Your drinking water looks, tastes, and smells fine, why test it?
- Germs, chemicals and toxic waste in or on the ground can pollute your drinking water under the ground. You might not see, smell, or taste them.
- Some local rocks contain harmful substances that can dissolve into your well water.
If you have never tested your well water, test for everything listed below. After this first complete test, you can follow the schedule below that spreads out the tests and the costs. For a list of labs that test well water, see page 3 here.
Click here to get your coupon for 15% off well testing packages at participating state-certified labs.
Well Testing Schedule
|Coliform bacteria (germs)||Key water quality test|
|Nitrate||Infant blood problems|
|Nitrite||Infant blood problems|
|Color||Key water quality test|
|Turbidity (cloudy water)||Key water quality test|
|Chloride and Sodium||Salty tasting water|
Every 3 – 5 Years
|Fluoride||Too much fluoride:Bone disease, stained teeth
Too little fluoride: tooth decay
|Iron||Laundry or plumbing fixture stains|
|Lead||Physical and mental development delays, kidney problems, high blood pressure|
|Manganese||Laundry or plumbing fixture stains|
|pH||Can ruin appliances and plumbing|
|Copper||Stomach upsets, Cramps, Diarrhea, Vomiting|
|a title=”Zinc”||Metallic taste|
|a title=”Cadmium”||Kidney Damage|
|Tests for corrosiveness:
||Can ruin appliances and plumbing|
Every 5 – 10 Years
|Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)||Increased chance of cancer and other negative health effects|
Other times to test:
- Test whenever you notice a change in your drinking water’s taste, smell, or color.
- Test if your drinking water well has been flooded.
- You may need additional tests depending on well type, plumbing type, and where you live. See the Additional Tests chart below.
- We can help you. Call or email Alyson McCann, Program Coordinator
|Arsenic||If you live near agricultural land – especially fruit orchards or land that was a fruit orchard. Also, if you live near industrial sites.|
|Beryllium||Occurs naturally in the bedrock in some areas of Rhode Island, including East Greenwich, West Greenwich, Coventry, Exeter, western Cranston, Johnston and Scituate.|
|Copper||If your plumbing system has copper pipes it is possible that the copper in the pipes can dissolve into the water.|
|Man-made Chemicals||In some areas of the state industrial solvents, manufacturing chemicals, ammunition wastes, and pesticides have been detected in groundwater. Contact the Rhode Island Department of Health for information about areas of known drinking well water pollution.|
|Radon||There is no drinking water standard for radon. However, radon in the water can contribute to radon levels in indoor air, which is of greater concern.|