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Having Your Well Water Tested
You want to have your well water tested for bacterial contamination.... Where do you start?
According to State and Federal law, drinking water must have less than 1 bacterial colony per 100 mL of water.
You need a test which will detect the presence of TOTAL COLIFORMS. "Coliform" is a collective term which includes normal intestinal bacteria. Because these bacteria can survive in water but not multiply there, finding them in high concentrations indicates recent or high levels of fecal contamination.
The labs we are aware of that do water testing are:
Beckmar Laboratory, Louisville, 502-266-6533
Microbac Laboratories, Louisville, 502-962-6400
Be sure to call the lab of your choice before doing anything. You will need a sterile bottle for the sample. Different labs accept samples on different days and at different times, etc., etc.
THE LAB WILL GIVE YOU FULL INSTRUCTIONS -- BE SURE TO FOLLOW THEM CAREFULLY!
Here are the basics:
If possible, they ask that you do not draw the water from a faucet that swivels. If your kitchen faucet is the kind that swivels, get the sample from the bathroom faucet. Also, if the faucet is equipped with an aeration screen, remove it if you can.
DO NOT TOUCH the mouth of the faucet, the inside of the specimen bottle, the inside of the lid, or the threaded neck of the bottle.
Let the water run for 5 minutes before taking a sample. Don't guess at the time -- use a watch. After the full 5 minutes, reduce the water flow to the width of a pencil and fill the sample bottle to the 100 mL line. Don't skimp -- they must have 100 mL of water to do the test.
Record the date and the exact time the sample was drawn and take sample to the lab. Try to get it there within 2 hours. If the time will exceed 2 hours, keep the sample on ice.