Private Wells


Oakland County Health Division Reminds Homeowners to Test Private Wells

Oakland County Health Division reminds all homeowners with a private well to test the quality of their drinking water regularly and at the first sign of color, odor, or taste change.
 
“Testing your private well water regularly is the only way to ensure safe drinking water for you and your family,” said Leigh-Anne Stafford, health officer for Oakland County Health Division. “Homeowners are strongly encouraged to test their drinking water, as the Health Division does not monitor private wells.”
 
The Health Division recommends testing private wells annually for bacteria (total coliform), nitrate, and nitrite. Private well testing is also recommended if:
 
  • There are known problems with water in the area
  • Problems have occurred near the well (i.e., flooding, land disturbances, and nearby waste disposal sites)
  • Any part of the well system has been repaired or replaced
  • The well has a history of bacterial contamination
  • The septic system has recently malfunctioned
  • Family member or house guests have recurrent incidents of gastrointestinal illness
  • An infant is living in the home
Specific Oakland County Health Division water sample bottles must be used to test private wells. Bottles can be purchased at both Health Division locations for detecting bacteria for $6 and partial chemical (i.e., nitrate, nitrite, chloride, fluoride, and sulfate) for $5. Health Division offices are open 8:30 a.m.- 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, and are located at:
 
  • North Oakland Health Center, 1200 N. Telegraph Road, Building 34 East, Pontiac
  • South Oakland Health Center, 27725 Greenfield Road, Southfield
Sample bottles can be returned to the Health Division offices at the following locations and times:
  • North Oakland Health Center: 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Monday – Wednesday and 8:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. on Thursdays.
  • South Oakland Health Center: 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Monday – Wednesday and 8:30 – 9:00 a.m. on Thursdays.
Well water can be dangerous if contaminants are introduced into private well water systems. If contaminants are introduced to drinking water, a risk of developing infections, cancers, and even decreased fertility and developmental delays can occur.
 
Other tests or testing frequency may be recommended based on geographic location or specific drinking water concerns. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Drinking Water Lab has additional tests available, including arsenic and lead, to ensure private water supply safety. For more information, visit www.michigan.gov/deq.
 
State Lab bottles for arsenic and lead are also available at Health Division Offices or by calling the State Lab at 517-335-8184. A list of local laboratories that test drinking water are also available at www.michigan.gov/documents/deq.

For more information, call the Health Division Environmental Health Services at 248-858-1312. For up-to-date public health information, visit www.oakgov.com/health, and follow @publichealthOC on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Nurse on Call is also available to answer questions at 800-848-5533 or noc@oakgov.com