; Adam Bello, County Executive

Private Drinking Water Supply (Wells)


 Phone: (585)753-5057

Program Goals

Roughly 4,500 properties in Monroe County are served by private drinking water wells.  Although private wells can be a source of high quality drinking water, extra precautions should be taken in order to ensure the water is safe for consumption.  The Monroe County Department of Public Health aims to minimize potential health hazards by consulting with residents on how to properly maintain a drinking water well as well as offering services to collect/analyze well water samples for various parameters.

Recommendations for Private Well Testing

Water quality testing is important for any private drinking water well.  In general, Monroe County Department of Public Health recommends testing for coliform bacteria once a year and other parameters such as Lead, Nitrate, Nitrite, Arsenic, Sodium, Iron, Manganese, Turbidity, pH, Hardness and Alkalinity every 3-5 years.  As any single water sample only provides a snap shot of water quality at the time of sample collection, testing may be considered on a more frequent basis to have a better understanding of overall water quality.  Testing may also be considered based on environmental or household changes such as if any of the scenarios listed below are true.

  • There is a noticeable change in how the well water looks, smells or tastes.
  • There will be household or family changes such as a pregnancy or newborn baby.
  • A health care provider suspects drinking water may be the cause of a health condition.
  • A well has been flooded or damaged by an extreme weather event.
  • A well runs dry or there is a change in the amount of water flowing from water fixtures.

Services Offered by Monroe County Department of Public Health

Monroe County Department of Public Health offers services to collect water samples from private drinking wells and have them tested for a variety of parameters at the Monroe County Environmental Lab.  A Water Sampling Request Form is linked below in the downloads section and may be used as a reference for various sampling options offered along with associated prices.  To schedule sampling through this Department, please contact this Department by phone to set up an appointment.

Please note that sample collection method and transportation to a certified lab for analysis are important factors in sample integrity.  Because of this, Monroe County Department of Public Health cannot accept privately collected samples for analysis.  Samples must be collected and transported to the lab by Monroe County Department of Public Health Staff.

Interpreting Water Sample Results

While private drinking water sources do not fall under the same state and federal regulations as public drinking water, many of the same standards can still be applied and used as guidance.  Both State Sanitary Code, Subpart 5-1 as well as NYS Appendix 75-C may be used as guidance on drinking water quality.  Both of these documents as well as a Water Sample Result Quick Reference Guide can be found in the downloads section below.

Well Disinfection

Disinfection of a well can result in improved water quality and may be necessary if a water sample tests positive for coliform bacteria.  In order to properly disinfect a well, a chlorine solution must be circulated through, and allowed to stay in, the well and house plumbing for a period of time. A well disinfection instructional how to guide is linked below in the Links to Other Online Information section.


Links to Other Online Information

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