What’s in your water? If your water comes from a private well, it’s up to you to make sure it is safe to drink!
Private wells have certain vulnerabilities. The risks come from how the land surface is being used – or abused. The closer a well is to a source of groundwater contamination, the higher the risk of contaminated drinking water. While commercial water companies are required by law to test customers’ water regularly, owners of private wells are on their own. It is your responsibility to care for your private well; no one else is going to test it for you!
If your household water comes from a private well, the US Environmental Protection Agency recommends that you test your water once a year to be sure the well is free from harmful bacteria and nitrates. It is also important to test for other pollutants periodically. Well water tests can be expensive, but we’ve established a two-part program that provides residents of the Raritan Headwaters region to have testing done at reasonable rates.
Member Well Testing Program
Members of RHA receive a number of benefits — electronic and printed newsletters chock full of information about local watershed protection programs, action alerts and articles about special people and places of the Raritan Headwaters region; advance notice and priority registration for educational and recreational programs and workshops; special opportunities to participate in service projects like streambank clean-ups and habitat restoration work days; a decal to display on a car or other prominent window; and our sincere appreciation for investing in our work. However, the most tangible benefit of being a dues-paying member is the opportunity to receive a free coliform bacteria test!
Community Well Testing Program
We partner with many municipalities within the region to offer residents the opportunity to test their well water. Towns decide when to offer the testing and we provide well testing kits that are assembled by volunteers. The test date is advertised and kits go on sale approximately a month before the resident is to return the water sample to the town hall. On the designated day, residents bring their water samples to the municipal building. Volunteers (typically from the Environmental Commission) then deliver the samples to the RHA office, where they are picked up by a state-certified laboratory for analysis. Test results come directly to us, and we share the results directly with residents. The “Basic Kit” tests for coliform bacteria and nitrates and costs $60. Residents can choose to also test for volatile organic compounds (VOCs), arsenic, lead, pesticides and a variety of other potential contaminants at an additional cost.
Municipalities typically offer the program at approximately the same time each year, so if you are interested in participating, check the schedule on this page or contact our Well Test Program Manager Margaret Logreira via email at or by calling (908) 234-1852 ext. 401.