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1<?xml version="1.0" encoding="ISO-8859-1"?>
3<HTML_CONTENT xmlns:ibis="">
5        <TITLE>NM EPHT Drinking Water Quality: Private Wells Testing</TITLE>
7        <CONTENT>
8                <ibis:ExpandableContent titleLevel="2"><SHOW/>
9                        <TITLE>The Health Benefits of Testing Drinking Water Quality</TITLE>
10                        <CONTENT>
11                                <br/>
12                                <img ibis:src="view/image/environment/water/private_wells/Testtubes.jpg" style="float:right; width: 60%; margin:5px 5px 5px 5px;" title="Testing the water from a private well will help you understand the drinking quality."/>
14                                Make your drinking water quality a health priority for you and your family.  The best way to
15                                know if drinking water from a private drinking well is safe to drink is by testing it.
16                                <br/><br/>
17                                If you have a private well, regular water quality testing is very important. Many contaminants
18                                cannot be identified by taste or odor, making it difficult for homeowners to know if the water
19                                quality of their well has changed. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not regulate
20                                private wells and many states and towns do not require periodic sampling of private wells after
21                                they are initially installed. This makes it the responsibility of homeowners to periodically
22                                test their well for water contamination.
23                                <br/><br/>
24                                Common water quality tests check for germs such as E. Coli, and chemicals such as nitrates,
25                                arsenic, uranium, lead, and fluoride by taking a sample of water from your well or from your
26                                drinking water source in your home such as the kitchen sink. If your well water smells, tastes
27                                and looks fine, you should still have it tested. Often germs and chemicals are unnoticed and the
28                                only way to find these is through testing. If germs are in your drinking water, they can cause
29                                abdominal cramping and diarrhea, for example.
30                                <br/><br/>
31                                Levels of various naturally-occurring and man-made contaminants in New Mexico ground water,
32                                including arsenic, uranium, manganese, nitrates, fluoride, sulfate, and bacteria might be
33                                elevated above the EPA Safe Drinking Water standards. Ongoing drought conditions and aquifer
34                                mining have raised further concern that increases in contaminants may occur in the absence of
35                                significant ground water recharge events. This is another key reason to test your drinking water.
36                                <br style="clear: both"/><br/>
37                        </CONTENT>
38                </ibis:ExpandableContent>
39                <ibis:ExpandableContent titleLevel="2">
40                        <TITLE>How To Test</TITLE>
41                        <CONTENT>
42                                About 20 percent of New Mexicans receive their water from private wells, which are not tested
43                                routinely. There are some options for New Mexicans to test their water. They can take their
44                                water to private labs and take the opportunities available through state-sponsored water fairs.
45                                <br/><br/>
46                                To support well owners in New Mexico, the state Department of Health supports the state
47                                Environment Department's Water Test Fair program, which periodically offers testing for
48                                constituents which may be naturally occurring or result from sources including fertilizer,
49                                animal waste, septic tanks, and refuse dumps.
50                                <a ibis:href="environment/water/private_wells/TestFairs.html">Learn about upcoming fairs.</a>
51                                <br/><br/>
53                        </CONTENT>
54                </ibis:ExpandableContent>
55                <ibis:ExpandableContent titleLevel="2">
56                        <TITLE>When To Test</TITLE>
57                        <CONTENT>
58                                <br/>
59                                Make your drinking water quality a health priority for you and your family by testing your water:
60                                <br/><br/>
61                                <img ibis:src="view/image/environment/water/private_wells/Watertestschedule.final509x517_1.png" style="float:right; width: 50%; margin:5px 5px 5px 5px;" alt="Testing Schedule" title="Make your drinking water quality a health priority for you and your family by testing your water every year for bacteria and nitrates and periodically for arsenic, uranium, fluoride and total dissolved solids if you live in a rural area." />
62                                <span class="Bold">Every Year: </span>Bacteria, Nitrates.
63                                <br/><br/>
64                                Checking these yearly is a good indicator if your water quality has degraded. This may mean
65                                your well casing has cracked or your water has been polluted by animal or human waste.
66                                <br/><br/>
67                                The best time to test is in late summer.
68                                <br/><br/>
69                                <span class="Bold">Periodically: </span>Other Chemicals.
70                                <br/><br/>
71                                Test at least once for arsenic, uranium, fluoride and total dissolved solids if you live in a rural area.
72                                <br/><br/>
73                                If you live in an area that may be subject to industrial pollution, or near a mine or mill
74                                site, test periodically for contaminants of concern, such as arsenic and uranium for many parts of the state.
75                                <br/><br/>
76                                Other harmful chemicals that you should test for will depend on where your well is located on
77                                your property and whether you live in an urban or rural area.
78                                <br/><br/>
79                                These tests could include testing for lead, mercury, radium, and atrazine, or other pesticides.
80                                <br/><br/>
81                                There may be other reasons to test your water beyond your regularly scheduled tests, such as:
82                                <br style="clear: both"/>
83                                <ul class="Indent">
84                                        <li>There are known problems with well water in your area.</li>
85                                        <li>You have experienced problems near your well (i.e., flooding, land disturbances, or nearby waste disposal sites)</li>
86                                        <li>You replace or repair any part of your well system, such as a pump.</li>
87                                        <li>Someone in the home is expecting a baby or is nursing.</li>
88                                        <li>The water changes in smell, taste or color. </li>
89                                        <li>The well runs dry and then comes back.</li>
90                                        <li>A spill of chemicals or fuels occurs near your well. </li>
91                                        <li>You put in a treatment system to fix a water quality problem. </li>
92                                        <li>New agricultural activities near your well. </li>
93                                        <li>You just installed the well or you newly purchased property or a home with a well.</li>
94                                </ul>
95                        </CONTENT>
96                </ibis:ExpandableContent>
97                <ibis:ExpandableContent titleLevel="2">
98                        <TITLE>Understanding the Water Test Results and Choosing a Treatment Option</TITLE>
99                        <CONTENT>
100                                After you test your water it is important to understand what the results mean. Try the
101                                Northern Plains and Mountains Regional <a href="" >Water Quality Interpretation Tool.</a> 
102                                Select the United States option. This information can help you select an appropriate water treatment system if needed.
103                                If test results show that your drinking water contains contaminants at levels above the safe limit, you can improve
104                                the quality with treatment. An appropriate water-treatment system or use of an alternative source of drinking water,
105                                such as bottled water is recommended.
106                                <a ibis:href="environment/water/private_wells/Treatment.html">Learn more about water treatment and filtration.</a>
107                                <ibis:ExpandableContent titleLevel="3">
108                                <TITLE>Well Water Testing Resources for Well Owners</TITLE>
109                                <CONTENT>
110                                        <ul class="Indent">
111                                                <li>
112                                                        <a ibis:href="view/pdf/environment/water/private_wells/">
113                                                        <img ibis:src="image/icon/16/pdf.gif" alt="pdf" />
114                                                        <span class="filetitle">Tips for Well Owners <span class="filesize">(209.6 KB)</span></span>
115                                                        </a>
116                                                </li>
117                                                <li><a ibis:href="environment/water/private_wells/Resources.html">Resources for Well Owners</a></li>
118                                        </ul>
119                                </CONTENT>
120                        </ibis:ExpandableContent>
121                        </CONTENT>
122                </ibis:ExpandableContent>
124        </CONTENT>
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