Safe Water

What is a well?

A water well is a system of delivering water to a private home in an area where there is no integrated water system. Most towns and cities have public water works that have rigorous testing standards and deliver water to a large number of homes. Private water wells offer a water supply to single households, predominantly in rural areas where there is no public water system.

Why would I get my well water tested?

Because a well is a private water supply, there are no required tests or treatments provided to said supply, as there are in public supplies to ensure proper safety. Although a properly constructed and located well should not contain contaminants, work done to the well may contaminate your water supply.

This may include replacement of the well seal or pump. Flooding in the area of the well may also contaminate the water supply. Finally, after an unexplained illness in your household, a doctor may recommend that your water is tested for contamination.

How can I get my well-water tested to ensure it is safe?

The Douglas County Health Department has well-water testing kits available to test your water to ensure it is safe. Kits are free and can be picked up at the Health Department during regular business hours.

Once the test is performed, it will need to be mailed by UPS to the water testing lab in Springfield (address enclosed in kit) and thus should be done early in the week (a Monday or Tuesday) to ensure that it arrives in a timely fashion. A PREPAID UPS LABEL IS PROVIDED.

What kinds of things do they test my water for?

Although there are a variety of tests that can be performed on water normally E.coli and coliform bacteria analysis are the only tests conducted. The presence of E.coli and coliform bacteria is an indicator that your well has been compromised and will need to be disinfected and retested. Only in special circumstances would a person request a different test. A private lab must be contacted for testing of Nitrates and other substances. An elevated Nitrate level should be of concern for infants and pregnant women.

I need to have a well drilled. What do I need to know?

You are required by law to have a permit to drill a new well or reconstruct an existing well. The cost of a well water permit is $100.00. Please note: well inspections performed AFTER regular business hours are subject to an additional $100.00 inspection fee.

I have an abandoned well on my property. What should I do?

Abandoned wells are required by Illinois law to be sealed within 30 days of being abandoned by a licensed well water driller or property owner/tenant.

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