How To Look At A House
McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of
site-built, mobile/manufactured and modular homes
Is water from a private well required to be tested in Florida?
Sunday, June 11, 2023
The State of Florida does not have any requirements for private well water testing, but testing at least once a year for bacteria and nitrates is recommended. According to the Florida Department of Health, "Bacteria and nitrates can reach the ground water and wells through poorly maintained septic systems, livestock areas and fertilizer application, or as a result of poorly constructed wells. Chemicals can enter into the ground water from leaking gasoline storage tanks, pesticide applications, landfills, and improper disposal of toxic and hazardous wastes. As a private well owner, you should be aware of these potential risks to the ground water and your household water supply."
Most county health departments in Florida provide water testing for a nominal fee, usually $30 to $40, and will give you instructions on how to properly collect the water sample. There are also state-certified private labs that can do the basic tests, and check for lead, iron, arsenic, and other contaminants for an additional fee.
Also, whenever a home has been unoccupied for an extended period of time we recommend disinfecting the well, especially if the electricity has been turned off at any time during that period. This is a situation we see often in country houses and mobile homes in our North Central Florida area that are for sale and have sat empty on the market for a while. The culprit you are trying to eliminate is E Coli bacteria.
Yes, you can test the water first for bacteria, but the time and expense of testing is more trouble than if you just went ahead and disinfected the well. Plus, the odds are high that the test will be positive.
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