Water Quality District - Wells
Should I Test My Water?
Yes. We recommend that all well owners periodically test their drinking water.
What should I test for?
Depending on the location of your well, there are several contaminants that you should consider testing for. All drinking water wells should be tested periodically for:
- Bacteria (annually - available here at Health Dept.)
- Nitrate (every 2-3 years; if elevated, re-test more often)
- Arsenic (every 2-5 years; if elevated, re-test more often)
Drinking water in older homes should be tested at least once at the indoor tap for:
Testing for other contaminants may be appropriate in locations where there are potential sources of concern or evidence of historic contamination:
- Volatile Organic Chemicals also called VOCs
Household wells should be tested periodically as mentioned above. Have a competent laboratory test your water annually for total and fecal coliform bacteria (from human and animal wastes), nitrate, arsenic, total dissolved solids, and pH levels. The Missoula City-County Health Department Lab can test your water for bacteria. If you suspect other contaminants are present, tests for these should also be done. Some chemical tests are expensive, so you will want to reduce the list by identifying potential contaminants specific to your situation.
Free arsenic tests available for Missoula County residents. Pick up a test kit at 301 W. Alder St. on the 2nd floor.
Water Testing Resources
- MSU Extension Well Educated Program
- EPA Ground Water Contamination Page
- Naturally-occurring arsenic in well water
You can have your water tested for bacteria at the Missoula City-County Health Department. Click here for more information on our lab services.
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