After a well has been drilled on your property, you will need to test your water for bacteria.
State law requires the well owner to collect a “safe” bacteria water test from the well, before using the well. This test includes E. coli and coliform bacteria.
What are coliform?
Coliform are generally considered harmless bacteria. However, some specific types of coliform are harmful and may cause disease. Coliform have their origin in the intestinal tract of humans and all other warm blooded animals and are found in sewage.
Why is it important to test for coliform?
Due to their origin, coliform are widespread in our environment. Coliform are easy to find and fairly easy to identify. They are excellent indicator organisms. When found in drinking water, coliform bacteria alert us to the potential of finding harmful organisms.
What should I do when coliform are found?
Because coliform bacteria are very common, incidental contamination may occur. Resampling is always recommended before any physical intervention with the water supply system is attempted. If a second sample is unsafe, a licensed professional well contractor should be contacted. The water supply system can then be evaluated, needed repairs done, and the well and distribution system properly sanitized.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR COLLECTION OF COLIFORM BACTERIA DRINKING WATER SAMPLE
Do not open the bottle until you are ready to collect the sample (it is a sterile bottle). Read ALL of these instructions before continuing.
Choose a clean faucet inside the home or the sample tap at the tank. Remove any aerators and sanitize the inside of the faucet with alcohol wipes or bleach. Then allow cold water to run for 3 minutes at full flow (5 minutes if using the sample tap at the tank).
Reduce water flow to very low before collecting the sample. Do not rinse out the bottle; it is treated with a special chemical. When you open the bottle, be careful not to touch the inside of the cap or set the cap down.
Do not allow the water from the outside surface of the faucet to drip into the bottle and avoid splashing. Fill the bottle to the fill line as indicated. Bring the sample in the same day it was taken and keep it cold until you get here.
Below is a list of area water labs that can do this test for you – call the laboratory of your choice to find out their testing requirements and fees. The well owner must provide the Health Department with a copy of the satisfactory test results. If you use a lab other than ours, please send us a copy of your results.
If you wish to use our laboratory, the charge for a bacteria water test is $15.00 (cash, check made to GCHD or Genesee County Health Department, or *VISA, MasterCard, or Discover.
[*Credit card must be in YOUR name, accompanied by YOUR photo ID.]).
Please stop by our office to pick up a free water test bottle. Be sure to read the instructions thoroughly and bring the sample back to us the same day you collect it.
We are located at 630 S. Saginaw Street, in the Floyd J. McCree Courts and Human Services Center, on the 2nd floor (Environmental Health office).
Please note that we do close from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm daily and we are unable to accept water samples on the last day of the week or the day before a holiday.
While you must test for bacteria, you may wish to test for other things as well (for example; nitrates, arsenic, fluoride, lead, salt, etc.). If you would like to have additional tests done on your water, there are other laboratories in the area that provide these services. See below.
CENTRAL MICHIGAN WATER LABORATORY
425 SOUTH DORT HIGHWAY
MICHIGAN DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY
STATE WATER LAB
WATER TECH INC
718 S MICHIGAN