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Water Testing Frequently Asked Questions

A:

As a private well owner or well-water consumer, you will probably use groundwater from your well for doing your family's laundry, drinking, cooking, bathing and watering your garden.

 

Municipalities are required to test their water supplies regularly to ensure the water is safe to drink. However, since there is no requirement to test a private well, except when it is first drilled or the pump is changed, you are responsible for making sure your water is safe.

 

While most private wells provide a clean, safe supply of water, contaminants can pollute private wells. Because you cannot see, smell or taste most contaminants, you should test your water on a regular basis. The types of land uses near your well determine which tests you need to have performed on your water supply.

 

Read the CDPHE Water Quality Control Division pamphlet, Drinking Water from Household Wells,  to learn how wells are polluted, how to protect them, what pollutants contaminate the water and what testing is needed.
 

A:

The Laboratory Services Division is certified to test drinking water originating from private wells or public water suppliers.

 

 

 

  • The Colorado Oil and Gas Association is providing free baseline water quality monitoring for domestic water wells near oil and gas drilling. Contact for the baseline water quality monitoring for domestic water wells near oil and gas drilling:

 

Andrew Casper

Colorado Oil & Gas Association (COGA)

1660 Lincoln Street, Suite 2710

Denver, Colorado 80264

Phone: 303.861.0362

Fax: 303.861.0373

Email: andrew@coga.org

 

Link to the program:  http://www.coga.org/index.php/BaselineWaterSampling 

 

OGCC will also sample a private water well if there is an allegation that an oil and gas company has caused an impact to a water well, which is not handled by the COGA baseline water quality program (http://cogcc.state.co.us/)

 

A:

The laboratory can now test water samples for hexavalent chromium, also known as chromium-6.

 

  • Click here for consumer information about hexavalent chromium from the EPA's website.
  • Click here to read the EPA’s recommendations for enhanced monitoring for Hexavalent Chromium (Chromium-6) in Drinking Water.
A:

No. Each contaminant must be evaluated individually. However, if you are buying or selling your house and need to have your well tested, a standard test is available. Water testing packages are also available. Click here to see what is included in the water testing packages and prices.

A:

If you own property with a private water supply, such as a spring or a well, consult the list below for testing suggestions.

 

  • Because bacterial levels in the water can change over time, a coliform test should be performed yearly.
  • If there is farming or livestock ranching in the area, nitrates can be found in areas where fertilizers have been applied or livestock waste may be found.
  • If there are children drinking the water on a regular basis, fluoride levels should be between 1 and 2 milligrams per liter (mg/l). Fluoride levels of less than 1 mg/l may prevent the proper development of teeth and supplements may be needed. Fluoride levels greater than 4 mg/l can lead to a pitting and staining of the teeth caused by fluorosis.
  • An odor of rotten eggs indicates the presence of sulfide. This is more of an aesthetic problem than a health concern and can be easily treated with chlorine.
  • If the bathroom fixtures are stained by the water, check for the following metals:

 

Blue or green stains indicate the presence of copper.
Red or rust-colored stains indicate that iron is present.
Black stains indicate the presence of manganese or zinc.

 

  • Uranium is naturally occurring in granite formations which are found throughout Colorado especially in the foothills. It can be found dissolved in the waters of wells sunk in these areas.
  • Testing processes require varying amounts of time depending upon the test performed. Therefore, allow up to 30 days for chemistry tests, and 24-96 hours for coliform testing. Laboratory staff can assist in evaluating your testing needs and help you develop a water testing plan.

 

A:

Yes. Sampling bottles are specially prepared by the laboratory and are required for performing any testing. Samples taken in any other bottles are not accepted because they may be contaminated and ruin the test.

A:

Testing supplies can be ordered by:

 

Testing supplies are free of charge and sent to you via FedEx or USPS.

 

If you are picking up sample bottles from the lab, go to the entrance on the south side of the building marked "Receiving." The main entrance at the west side of the building is locked and not available for pick up of sampling bottles. Click here for a map to the lab and designated entrance.

 

Click this link to view compliance testing schedules, facility name, PWSID & sampling site numbers.
 

Click this link to order sample bottles for testing at the State Lab.

A:

Water testing prices can be found in the links below.  Water tests are found in the Environmental Microbiology, Inorganic Chemistry, Organic Chemistry and Radiochemistry Laboratory sections.

 

Water Testing Prices

Water Provider Fee List pdf file

Private Customer Fee List pdf file

 

Laboratory Fees pdf file

 

 

A:

Some water samples are required to be delivered to the laboratory within a few hours and in a cooler with an ice pack. Be sure to check your collection instructions provided with your sampling bottles.

 

Samples can be delivered to the lab in person, or in some cases can be sent to the lab. Samples can be dropped off at the same entrance where bottles are picked up. Click for map and designated entrance.

 

If your sample must be delivered to the lab within 24 hours after the sample has been collected, you may use the US mail overnight feature or have the samples delivered by any carrier that is able to deliver them within 24 hours after collection.

 

To ensure prompt processing, be sure to complete the sample information form included with your sampling bottles. Each sample requires a separate test request form.

A:

Water testing turn-around times vary according to the type of test being performed.

 

 

Testing processes require varying amounts of time depending upon the test performed. Therefore, allow up to 30 days for chemistry tests, and 24-96 hours for coliform testing. Laboratory staff can assist in evaluating your testing needs and help you develop a water testing plan.

A:

Results reports are sent via U.S. mail upon completion of the sample test. If you have not yet received your test results within the sample testing timeframe, you may contact the lab via e-mail at: cdphe.lab@state.co.us or call the lab at 303-692-3048.

A:

The chemistry lab is available to answer questions about water tests and can be reached:


(1) by phone at 303-692-3048, or
(2) by e-mail at cdphe.lab@state.co.us
Specify "Water Tests" in the e-mail subject line.