We spend a lot of our time focused on protecting the groundwater within Indianapolis’ seven wellfields that provide water for the public supply as distributed by Citizens Energy, Speedway Waterworks, and Lawrence Utilities. In Marion County, most drinking water comes from this public supply. However, there are still many private wells that provide drinking water to people who are not connected to the public supply. So, while we usually specifically talk about groundwater in the seven wellfields becoming everyone’s drinking water, the truth is that any groundwater throughout the county can become drinking water for people with private wells.
As you may know from our previous blog posts on Consumer Confidence Reports, the EPA requires that public water utilities test their water on a regular basis and provide details about testing to consumers to allow them to make informed decisions about their drinking water. In contrast, people who drink water collected from their own well are not required to test their water. If a business or organization has a private well and provides drinking water to a certain threshold of people, there are sampling requirements imposed by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) to protect public safety. If someone wants to install a private well, they need to obtain a permit from the Marion County Public Health Department (MCPHD) and pay a fee. A permit must be acquired and a fee paid to repair or replace a pump in a private well.
Testing Private Wells
Even though people are not required by law to test the water quality in private wells which they are using for personal consumption, it’s always a good idea to play it safe and confirm that the water quality in your well is good. Because consuming unsafe water is a public health issue, MCPHD routinely samples and tests groundwater to assess the water quality. MCPHD has their own laboratory for testing parameters including coliform bacteria, anions such as chloride and nitrates, metals, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
If you have a private well and are interested in having it tested by MCPHD for free please contact them at (317) 221-2147. MCPHD has prepared a great fact sheet regarding water quality characteristics of private wells which is available for download here.
You can view results from neighborhood assessments that MCPHD has already conducted here.
Remember, groundwater can become your drinking water no matter where you are in Marion County, so we need to protect it!