Check out the OSU Well Water Safety website for more:

Did you know?

23% of Oregonians rely on domestic wells or private wells for their primary source of potable water.

Well Water Safety Module 1: Overview of Well Water Safety
Well Water Safety Module 2: How to Take a Water Sample
Well Water Safety Module 3: Arsenic in Well Water
Well Water Safety Module 4: Nitrate in Well Water
Well Water Safety Module 5: Total Coliform in Well Water

Why should I test my well?

Water that has an undesirable taste or smell, cloudy or colored, or leaves a residue or stains plumbing fixtures or laundry is a sign that your well water needs to be tested. Common contaminants are arsenic, nitrates and coliform bacteria. To learn more about these common well water contaminants, click on the icons below. 

When should I test my well?

Have your well tested if there are known well problems in your area, if you have experienced problems near your well, if you have replaced or repaired any part of your well, or if you noticed a change in the water quality. Check your well every spring for mechanical problems and total coliform bacteria, nitrates, and pH levels. 

Where can I get testing done?

Check out the Oregon Health Authority's information on laboratories for water testing.

How do I measure my well water level?

Learn how to measure well water levels including static water level: Water level booklet.

If my drinking water is infected how do I temporarily treat it?

The EPA has a more information on emergency disinfection of drinking water.


Coliform bacteria in well water are indicators of potential contamination, often stemming from fecal matter and suggesting the presence of harmful pathogens. Regular testing for coliform bacteria is crucial to assess the microbiological safety of well water and protect against waterborne illnesses. Learn More.


Nitrates in well water can result from agricultural runoff or seepage from fertilized areas, posing a potential health concern if present in elevated levels. Regular testing and monitoring of well water quality are essential to ensure the safety of drinking water. Learn More.


Arsenic in well water can originate from natural geological deposits or human activities such as mining and industrial processes. Long-term exposure to elevated levels of arsenic in well water has been associated with serious health risks, emphasizing the importance of regular testing and mitigation measures. Learn More.

What are twelve simple things I can do to protect my well?

  1. Locate your well.
  2. Locate your septic tank.
  3. Locate your drain field.
  4. Have your water tested.
  5. Have your septic tank pumped.
  6. Use less water.
  7. Remove any chemicals stored in your well house.
  8. Ensure that a sanitary seal caps your well.
  9. Install backflow protectors on all outdoor faucets.
  10. Limit your use of lawn and garden chemicals.
  11. Protect the soil from contamination by oil, gasoline, and household chemicals.
  12. Shield animal waste from the rain.

More information at OSU Extension - twelve simple things you can do to protect your well water.