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Health Department

Posted on: July 3, 2019

Free Well Water Testing Available for Madison County Residents

Family Members or Citizens

Do you have a well or other individual onsite water system? Have you tested your drinking water in the last year? It may look, smell, or taste fine, but may not be safe to drink. Test your water to know if it is safe and free from harmful contaminants.

The quality and safety of your individual water supply can change during the year. Your risk of water contamination can depend on a number of factors, including:

  • How your well was constructed
  • Where your well is located, and if there is enough separation from sources of contamination, such as septic systems, agricultural activity, or surface water
  • How well your water source is protected
  • How well the components of your water treatment system are maintained

Natural geological conditions in addition to industrial, agricultural and human activities in your area can potentially impact your drinking water quality.

Be confident your water is safe to drink. If you are on a private individual water system, contact Madison County Health Department’s Environmental Division at 315-366-2526 about free water testing and consultation services. Services are for eligible owners of residential wells, and other small individual onsite water systems in Madison County.

“The water testing is free and comprehensive,” said Geoffrey Snyder, Environmental Health Director. “Appointments are scheduled convenient to the homeowner, and a trained specialist performs an assessment of your water system and collects water samples. Water samples collected are sent to a certified lab for testing. Our Water Specialist will provide you a water quality report and review of the laboratory analysis, along with recommendations on what you can do to improve and protect your water source.”

The Health Department’s Individual Water Program has completed over 400 well assessments from 2016-2018. Test results have found 39% of water systems tested had coliform bacteria present. The presence of coliform bacteria is an indicator that a water system may be vulnerable to contamination. Among systems positive for coliform bacteria, 6% further tested positive for E. coli bacteria that can cause serious gastrointestinal illness. Naturally occurring arsenic was also detected at various levels in 26% of the home water systems tested.

Madison County Health Department’s website includes interactive maps showing known sources of potential contamination and geographical areas likely to have higher levels of arsenic, nitrates and other contaminants of concern. Check out the interactive maps to help guide your water testing activities online at, or call our Water Specialist for this information.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends you test your individual water system:

  • Yearly for total coliform bacteria and nitrate
  • If you notice a change in water taste or color
  • After working on your water system
  • If you notice standing water around the base of your well
  • If you notice the well cap is not secure

If it has been more than a year since you last tested your drinking water, call the Madison County Health Department at 315-366-2526, or go to to learn more.

Primary funding for this free water testing program is provided through cooperative agreement CDC-RFA-15-1507 between the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Madison County, NY Department of Health.

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