To test the water from a residential well, a well owner can obtain a sample kit from their local EA Regional Office or Health Department. There are two types of kits, one for a coliform bacteria test and one for a metals and minerals analysis. Each kit includes a form to fill out, sterile bottle, and instruction sheet. Follow the instructions carefully and return the sample as soon as possible (DHEC accepts samples on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays). *Do not pay for the analysis when you drop off your sample; your invoice will accompany the analytical results*
*DHEC DOES NOT REGULATE THE WATER QUALITY OF PRIVATE WELLS*
*IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT THESE TESTS ARE NOT USED FOR REAL-ESTATE TRANSACTIONS*
Individual Residential Well Monitoring fees are to be charged for water samples collected by individuals from their residential well and submitted to DHEC for analysis. These fees will not be charged if the samples are considered part of a DHEC groundwater contamination investigation and may be waived or reduced based on the individual's ability to pay. Ambient water samples and samples from public water systems will not be accepted and analyzed.
Individuals over the age of 65 or those who are on public assistance (i.e., food stamps, WIC, Medicaid, etc.) can receive one (1) coliform bacteria test and one (1) metals and minerals analysis annually, free of charge. Please provide a copy of a drivers’ license or proof of assistance in order to receive this benefit.
Individual residential well owners that have applied for a private well permit may have their first coliform bacteria test at no extra charge.
Types of Tests
For help understanding the water test results, please visit the Be Well Informed webpage. This site can provide feedback on health concerns and water treatment choices.
Coliform Bacteria Test - $20 Per Test
The water analysis that residential well owners request most often is the test for coliform bacteria. These bacteria are common in the environment and are generally not harmful. The water sample is tested for the presence of coliform bacteria using the total coliform test. If coliform bacteria are detected, the same water sample is tested for the presence of E. coli, as these germs can cause illness.
You will receive the results by mail in two to three weeks along with an explanation of the results.
Metals and Minerals Analysis - $50 Per Test
The other common analysis conducted for residential well water is the metals and minerals analysis. The water sample is analyzed for:
Alkalinity, Calcium, Chloride, Copper, Hardness, Iron, Lead, Magnesium, Manganese, Nitrate/Nitrite, pH, and Zinc
You will receive the results by mail in six to eight weeks along with a booklet explaining the results. Additional inorganic parameters can be added to the analysis, each for a $25 fee including, but not limited to:
Fluoride, Sodium, and Total Dissolved Solids
Chemical Parameters - Not Applicable
For Volatile Organic Chemicals, Herbicides, Pesticides, Other Synthetic Organic Parameters, please contact a Commercial Laboratory.
Although aquifers are generally free of harmful bacteria, the drilling process can bring bacteria down the borehole. After construction of the well is completed, the well is to be disinfected. However, through time the well owner may notice a difference in the taste or odor of their water. If warranted, the well owner is contacted to recommend actions such as Well Disinfection or inspection. Finally, staff can provide water treatment system alternatives if that option is most appropriate.