Wake County encourages all private well users to have their water tested regularly to ensure that it is safe for drinking.

Currently, Wake County offers sample collection services only to residents whose household income is less than 2.5 times the federal poverty guideline. All other residents will need to obtain testing services from a commercial drinking water laboratory. We regret the inconvenience this may cause.
See if you meet the income guidelines.

What tests should I have?

What if testing finds a problem?

My water tastes, smells, and looks fine!

I already had my water tested.

My water tastes, smells, or looks bad.

What tests are recommended?

What tests should I have?

If you have never had your well water tested, or it has been more than five years since your last test, Wake County recommends testing for: 

  • Coliform Bacteria
  • Inorganics
  • Volatile Organic Compounds, and 
  • Pesticides.

In addition to these tests, if you live in certain parts of the county, Wake County recommends testing for radiological contaminants

What if testing finds a problem?

While discovering a problem in your drinking water can be scary, the good news is that nearly all well water problems can be fixed. Fixing the problem could mean disinfecting the well, repairing the well, installing a filter to remove contaminants, or another solution. After you get your test results, Wake County Environmental Services will work with you to help you understand your options and will help connect you to resources to address the problem.

My well water tastes, smells, and looks fine!

While tastes, odors, discoloration, or cloudiness are obvious signs of problems with your water, water that is perfectly clear and tastes fine can still have unhealthy levels of contamination. Testing by a certified laboratory is the only reliable way to be sure you have safe drinking water.

I already had my well water tested.

Do you know what it was tested for? Was it tested by a certified drinking water laboratory? There are many free test kits available at home improvement stores or from water treatment companies. Most of these test kits do not check for chemicals that affect your health and only test for acidity or hardness. Without a complete test by a certified laboratory, you may be drinking water with contaminants that you cannot see, taste, or smell.

My well water tastes, smells, or looks bad.

Tastes, odors, discoloration, or cloudiness all indicate problems with the groundwater or the well itself. If you are having any of these problems, now is a perfect time to find out exactly what is in your water by getting complete testing before you spend a lot of money on fixing your well or installing a water treatment system. A complete water test will help you get the most out of the money you invest in your well or a water treatment system by ensuring that you have addressed all of the problems – visible and invisible – with your water.

Tests & Recommendations

Coliform Bacteria​ ​Recommended annually for all well users.
The presence of fecal coliform indicates that the water may be contaminated with human or animal waste.
​Full Inorganic Panel ​Recommended every two years for all well users.
Includes Alkalinity, Fluoride, Hardness, Nitrate, Nitrite, pH, Arsenic, Barium, Cadmium, Calcium, Chromium, Copper, Iron, Lead, Magnesium, Manganese, Mercury, Selenium, Silver, Sodium and Zinc.

​Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
​Recommended every five years for all well users.
Tests for chemical compounds found in petroleum products or solvents, as well as a soil fumigant formerly used on tobacco fields.


Recommended every five years for all well users.


Recommended every five years for all well users.

​Gross Alpha & Beta Radiation ​Click here for a notice for private well users regarding radiological contamination.

​Radon in Water


​Radium 226 & 228

Nuisance Bacteria
Iron Bacteria​

​Recommended only if your well shows signs of plugging or biofouling

​Sulfur Bacteria Recommended only if your well water smells like rotten eggs​