If your home has a private well, it is a good idea to test your water once in a while to be sure your water supply is safe for drinking and general use. Depending on a number of factors including the design and age of the well, the depth and location, land uses near the well, and seasonal variations in the water table, there can be periodic variations in your water quality and quantity.
When choosing to test your well water, it is important to decide what you want to test for. Unless you have reason to suspect contamination by other pollutants, it is common practice to test for nitrates and coliform bacteria.
The McLean County Health Department offers a water sample kit for a fee of $20. This testing no longer includes nitrates, but rather only tests for bacterial contamination. They will offer personal instruction to the well owner for the hygienic collection of the sample to minimize the incidence of a sampling error. The well owner mails the sample to the Illinois Department of Public Health Laboratory with a pre-paid mailing label. The results are sent back to the McLean County Health Department; they will send the owner an interpretive letter of the results. Turnaround time of sample results is 7-10 days. If the sample is contaminated, the Health Department will continue to provide water bottles to the well owner for re-sampling at no cost as long as attempts to eliminate the source of contamination are made. Environmental Health staff consult with the owner on methods to eliminate the contamination and provide on-site well surveys to help owners identify potential sources of contamination. They will also refer well owners to water well contractors if a contamination source requires access to buried water lines or may involve components inside the well.
McLean County Health Department
200 W. Front St.
Bloomington, IL 61701
Ph: (309) 888-5450
8:00 AM – 12:00 PM
1:00 PM – 4:30 PM
Two private labs in Peoria also provide testing services; these labs can test for nitrates, bacteria, or other contaminants–please call ahead to find out more details including their recommendations for taking a sample. Be sure to exercise very hygienic practices in taking a water sample, using only a sterile sample container, in order to avoid cross-contaminating your samples.