While you can perform tests for specific chemicals with an at-home water test kit, you should test your well water comprehensively through a state-certified laboratory. Some counties even provide free well water testing. To find a certified laboratory near you, consult the EPA’s certified laboratory list. A laboratory test involves collecting water samples and shipping them to a nearby laboratory. Once shipped, the results should be sent to you within two to three weeks.
Lab water tests are much more expensive than at-home test kits, but they also provide much more accurate, comprehensive, and thorough results. When treating well water, knowing the contaminants in your water is essential, making the high price tag of laboratory testing a worthy investment.
Well water should be tested at least once each year for coliform, TDS, nitrates, and pH. If you notice signs of any other contaminants, have your well water tested immediately. Possible signs include unusual taste, odors, or colors.