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Suggested Water Quality Testing For Private Wells
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The purpose of this document is to identify those water quality contaminants that the Department of Environmental Services (DES) recommends be tested in private wells. These contaminants are generally related to New Hampshire's geology and types of land use.

State, Town, and Lender Requirements:

There is no state requirement for testing the water quality of private wells; accordingly, the following information is offered only for educational purposes. NH State law (RSA 477:4-c), however, requires that certain information concerning a home's water system be disclosed to a purchaser, including an unsatisfactory water test. The term "unsatisfactory water test", however, is not defined in statute.

Since there are no testing requirements for water quality, a few towns, primarily in southern New Hampshire, have identified lists of required water quality test parameters. Such town requirements are typically expressed as the obligation to test for certain contaminants, but not necessarily to achieve compliance. This testing is typically associated with the building code requirements for new construction, such as a certificate of occupancy. Please check with your town to see if water quality testing of a private well is required and under what circumstances. The Veterans Administration (VA), Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and many banks require some water quality testing when writing a mortgage. However, their requirements are not consistent, and historically there has been more emphasis on factors that pertain to aesthetics than factors that pertain to health.

List of Suggested Contaminants:

The list of contaminants on the following page has been prepared after a review of extensive records from the DES's public water supply program. Although more test parameters could be added, this list provides a reasonable balance between the high cost of extensive testing and the relatively low cost of testing for only those contaminants that are more commonly found in New Hampshire.

Recommended Contaminant Testing

Well Types:     
   Testing Frequency:
"Standard Analysis" Bedrock
If results greater
than 75% MCL *
Arsenic x x 3-5 years quarterly
Bacteria x x annually Immediately
Chloride x x 3-5 years annually
Copper (nonflushed) x x 3-5 years annually
Fluoride x x 3-5 years annually
Hardness x x 3-5 years annually
Iron x x 3-5 years annually
Lead (nonflushed) x x 3-5 years quarterly
Manganese x x 3-5 years annually
Nitrate /Nitrite x x 3-5 years 1/month
pH x x 3-5 years Not Applicable
Sodium x x 3-5 years annually

Recommended Additional Test Parameters:
VOCs (Solvents 
    and hydrocarbons)
x x 5-10" See below
Radon (special bottle req.) x x 3-5" annually
Gross (screen) alpha x   5-10" annually

* Suggested follow up testing if the concentration of the contaminant is greater than 75 percent of the standard. Testing should continue until the average concentration is determined for naturally occurring contaminants. 


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Any of our representatives will be glad to discuss any of your water testing needs, offer reccomendations, and/or assist you in choosing the appropriate tests.

EAI Analytical Labs performs private well testing and commercial well testing, and analysis, for the following New Hampshire counties: Cheshire, Hillsboro, Merrimack, Sullivan, Rockingham, Strafford, Belknap, Grafton, Carroll, & Coos. Vermont counties: Addison, Bennington, Caledonia, Chittenden, Essex, Franklin, Grand Isle, Lamoille, Orange, Orleans, Rutland, Washington, Windham, & Windsor. Massachusetts counties of: Barnstable, Berkshire, Bristol, Dukes, Essex, Franklin, Hampden, Hampshire, Middlesex, Nantucket, Norfolk, Plymouth, Suffolk, & Worcester.