News from the Somerset County Board of County Commissioners
Shanel Y. Robinson, Commissioner Director Ÿ Doug Singleterry, Commissioner Deputy Director
Sara Sooy, Commissioner Ÿ Melonie Marano, Commissioner Ÿ Paul Drake, Commissioner
For Immediate Release
March 9, 2023
Contact Nathan Rudy at (908) 635-8401 for more information.
Ensuring Private Well Water Is Safe and Healthy During Groundwater Awareness Week
SOMERVILLE, NJ – In recognition of Groundwater Awareness Week, March 5-11, the Somerset County Department of Health reminds homeowners with private wells about the importance of regularly testing their drinking water.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends testing household wells annually for certain containments such as coliform bacteria, nitrates, total dissolved solids, and pH levels. These substances and characteristics of well water can be quantified through routine laboratory testing.
Homeowners should immediately test if there are known problems with ground water or drinking water in the area and if land conditions have changed significantly due to flooding or new construction/industrial activity. Homeowners may consider testing a well more frequently if any members of the household are pregnant or nursing, or if there are infants and young children present. It is also prudent to test well water after any repairs or if there is a significant change in the odor, color, or taste of the water.
The Somerset County Department of Health urges residents to contact their local health department for information regarding testing guidance based on water quality trends that may be specific to their neighborhood. It is recommended that all well owners conduct a full range of tests at least once, even in areas with no known environmental concerns. This will help establish a record of water quality which may be helpful with resolving future problems relating to well system treatment, repairs, or other environmental issues.
Somerset County residents have several options for well testing. Residents can purchase test kits through the Raritan Headwaters Association (RHA). These test kits assess a range of contaminants from total coliform, arsenic, lead, and copper to volatile organic compounds. The RHA will be hosting several community events this spring for New Jersey residents. For a listing of dates and locations, go to www.testmywell.org or call the Well Testing Office at 908-234-1852, ext. 401. Well test kits may also be obtained at the Flemington and Bedminster RHA offices at any time.
Homeowners may also opt to hire a private lab for their well water testing. For a list of certified water-testing laboratories, visit the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s website at http://www.nj.gov/dep/enforcement/oqa/certlabs.htm.
Wells have the ability to provide high-quality drinking water, and about half the U.S. population receives their drinking water from private wells. However, with well ownership comes the responsibility of ongoing maintenance. Some well maintenance tips include: checking the visible parts of well systems for cracks or leaks, maintaining septic systems, and taking care to avoid mixing or using pesticides, fertilizers or other chemicals near a wellhead. These actions can all contribute to the protection of residential well water supplies.
Homeowners should also avoid flushing chemicals down drains, especially if the home also uses a private septic system. Inspection checklists and information on safely maintaining a private well are available at www.wellowner.org.
For more information on recommended well testing, residents should contact the local health department. A directory of local health departments and additional safe-drinking water information can be found on the Somerset County Department of Health website at soconj.gov/health or, contact Somerset County Environmental Health Coordinator Erin Balas at (908) 231-7155.
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