BAL Laboratory

Private Well Testing

Did you know that the Rhode Island Department of Health recently developed and passed into law new regulations that require Private Drinking Water Systems to be tested?

RI Regulation R-23-1-5.3-PDW (PDF) (Rules and Regulations Pertaining to Private Drinking Water Systems) was promulgated in June 2008. The requirement for new construction reporting takes effect 3 months after promulgation and 6 months after promulgation for property transfers. These new regulations “apply to any and all water-well systems that do not meet the definition of public water supply as defined by the Rules and Regulations Pertaining to Public Drinking Water [R46-13-DWQ]…”

Private Water Systems covered by this new regulation:

Water Quality Analyses are required for the following circumstances:

What are you required to analyze for?

Please contact the Laboratory at (401) 785-0241 for testing and/or package information. Our Staff is here to help you.

BAL Laboratory is proud to have quality trained samplers on staff. From sample collection to analysis to helping you understand your results, we can assist you with your private well testing needs.

RI DOH Real Estate/New Well

This package is REQUIRED for any real estate transaction in the State of Rhode Island that involves a home with a well. The lending bank has the right to refuse a closing if this is not completed prior to a sale or transfer of deed or other real estate transaction. It is also required if a new well is to be brought online either for a new home or an existing home. This package will provide a good basis of the water chemistry for the well. It will also give you the information you will need if you want to look into a home treatment system.

  • Total Coliform
  • Alkalinity
  • Hardness
  • Chloride
  • Fluoride
  • Iron
  • Lead
  • Manganese
  • Nitrate/Nitrite
  • pH
  • Specific Conductance
  • Sulfate
  • TDS
  • Turbidity
  • VOC (w/MTBE)

RI DOH Real Estate/New Well Sampling Instructions (PDF)

Initial Comprehensive Test

This package offers a very detailed report of what your water may have in it. If you have never had your water tested this may be the package for you. If your well is located near any sort of abandoned industrial site, this is the package for you.

  • Total Coliform
  • Alkalinity
  • Hardness
  • Chloride
  • Fluoride
  • Iron
  • Lead
  • Manganese
  • Nitrate/Nitrite
  • pH
  • Specific Conductance
  • Sulfate
  • TDS
  • Tubidity
  • VOC (w/MTBE)
  • Color
  • Sodium
  • Copper
  • Zinc
  • Cadmium
  • Arsenic
  • Beryllium
  • Calcium
  • First Draw Lead and Copper
  • Total Petroleum Hydrocarbons

Initial Comprehensive Test Sampling Instructions (PDF)

Routine Sanitary Survey

This package is recommended annually. Monitoring your well on an annual basis can alert you to changes in your well over time. If you test annually and any of the analyses listed change dramatically, you may be able to head off bigger problems in your well.

  • Total Coliform
  • Nitrate
  • Nitrite
  • Color
  • Turbidity
  • Sodium
  • Chloride

Routine Sanitary Survey Sampling Instructions (PDF)

Basic

This package is recommended every 3-5 years. Water chemistry can change over time so we recommend testing your well in order to see if things are the same or if things are changing in your well. If you have a treatment stream we recommend that you test both the well water and your treated water in order to ensure that your treatment process is performing at its best.

  • Total Coliform
  • Nitrate
  • Nitrite
  • Color
  • Turbidity
  • Manganese
  • Sodium
  • Sulfate
  • Chloride
  • pH
  • Specific Conductivity
  • Copper
  • Iron
  • Lead
  • Hardness

Basic Package Sampling Instructions (PDF)

If you are unsure about which package to choose please contact the laboratory at (401) 785-0241 and we will be happy to assist you.

In addition to the analyses mentioned above, may we recommend:

SituationRecommended tests

If household plumbing contains lead or copper pipes, fittings, or solder joints
OR
you see staining on fixtures or laundry.

Test for pH, alkalinity, hardness, lead, copper, iron, and manganese.

If the plumbing contains galvanized pipes.

Test for pH, alkalinity, hardness, lead, copper, iron and manganese, zinc, and cadmium.

If residents at the house have recurring incidents of gastrointestinal illness.

Test for coliform bacteria, nitrate, and sulfate. Test for copper if blue-green staining is seen around fixtures.

If water has a metallic taste or appearance.

Test for hydrogen sulfide, pH, alkalinity, hardness, copper, lead, iron, zinc, cadmium, sodium, chloride, and total dissolved solids (TDS).

If water has an objectionable odor – Sewage or sulfur odor
If water has an objectionable odor – Petroleum or solvent odor

Test for coliform, nitrate, hydrogen sulfide, sulfates, and total dissolved solids(TDS).
Test for volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

If water appears cloudy, frothy or colored.

Test for color, turbidity and detergents.

If your well is near sea water, road salt storage sites, or a heavily salted highway; or your water tastes salty.

Test for sodium, chloride, total dissolved solids (TDS,) and specific conductance.

If you live in an area of intense agricultural use.

Test for pesticides commonly applied in the area, coliform, nitrate, pH, and total dissolved solids (TDS).

If your water smells like gasoline or if you live near a gas station or buried gasoline tanks.

Test for gasoline components, such as MTBE and volatile organic compounds (VOCs- Aromatic Hydrocarbons).

If your water smells like fuel oil (heating oil).

Test for total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

If your well is near a known, or previously- existing dry cleaning facility or dye works.

Test for chlorinated volatile organic compounds (VOCs-Halogenated Hydrocarbons) and heavy metals.

If your well is near a dump, landfill, factory, or other industrial operation.

Test for volatile organic compounds (VOCs), pH, total dissolved solids (TDS), chloride, sulfate, and heavy metals.

If you have plenty of data and want to do routine (annual) monitoring.

Test for coliforms, nitrates, nitrites, sodium, turbidity, and color.

Please contact the Laboratory at (401) 785-0241 for testing and/or package information.  Our Staff is here to help you.

The links below provide additional useful information on drinking water:

Department of Health – Private Wells:
http://www.health.ri.gov/
water/for/privatewellowners

EPA's Safewater web site has information for private well owners:
http://www.epa.gov/
safewater/privatewells/index2.html

The RI Home*A*Syst program provides lots of helpful information for suburban and rural homeowners who desire a healthy home environment. Here is the link to the homepage:
http://www.uri.edu/
safewater/private-well-testing-and-protection/

This page also has a wonderful collection of fact sheets on private well ownership and questions to ask before getting a treatment system.