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Wells and Aquifers (Ground Water)

Private Well Information

About 15 percent of Americans have their own sources of drinking water, such as wells, cisterns, and springs. Unlike public drinking water systems serving many people, they do not have experts regularly checking the water’s source and its quality before it is sent through pipes to the consumer. If your family gets drinking water from your own well, do you know if your water is safe to drink? What health risks could you and your family face? Where can you go for help or advice? Here are some documents and links to help answer these questions:

Does the Safe Drinking Water Act Apply to Private Wells?
The Safe Drinking Water Act does not protect private wells. It only applies to “public drinking water systems” — government or privately run companies supplying water to 25 people or 15 service connections for at least 60 days of the year. Individual well owners have primary responsibility for the safety of the water drawn from their wells. They do not benefit from the government’s health protections for public water systems that must comply with federal and state regulations for frequent analysis, testing, and reporting of results.

Water Systems Council Offers Hotline for Well Owners
Well owners with questions about wells or well water can call the new Wellcare® Hotline operated by the Water Systems Council, a national organization focused on well systems not regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act. The hotline can be reached by phone at (888) 395-1033 or www.wellcarehotline.org or www.watersystemscouncil.org.

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