Bacterial / Flow Tests

Bacterial Tests

Bacterial tests are generally performed when purchasing a new home. According to the CDC, you should also test for total coliform bacteria, nitrates, total dissolved solids, and pH levels once a year. What matters for lenders is that the well water meets local health requirements for safe drinking water.

The mortgagee must ensure that the water quality meets the requirements of the health authority with jurisdiction. If there are no local (or state) water quality standards, then water quality must meet the standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as presented in the National Primary Drinking Water regulations in 40 CFR §§ 141 and 142.

Federal Housing Administration (FHA) insured loans require water testing if the home is served by a private well. Refer to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) testing requirements, which are the minimum standards acceptable. In short, HUD says, “Water quality must meet the requirements of the health authority with jurisdiction. If there are no local or state water quality standards, then water must be potable, which may be demonstrated by compliance with the current EPA Manual of Individual and Non-Public Water Supply Systems.”

Properties requiring a well test:

  • New construction
  • An Appraiser has reported deficiencies with a well or the well water where water is reported to be unsafe or known to be unsafe
  • Property located in close proximity to dumps, landfills, industrial sites, farms (pesticides) or other sites that could contain hazardous wastes
  • Distance between the well and septic system is less than 100 feet


Flow Tests

A well flow test determines if the well produces enough water. This test is conducted to determine whether there is an adequate flow of water from a private well.

Consolidated Pumps can change the pace at which the pump draws water from the well to determine the rate at which the well can supply a sustained water flow rate or quantity over a specified time period, usually several hours, but sometimes up to 24 hours.


    Well Chlorination

    Homeowners with private wells should get their water tested for pollutants such as bacteria every 3 to 5 years. If these tests reveal the presence of germs, chlorinating the well may be an option for resolving the issue.

    Chlorinating should be performed:

    • When bacteria are present in the water
    • After new plumbing installations
    • After casing or pump repairs – submersible or other
    • When water taste or odor changes
    • As part of annual maintenance