Well Water Tests Available Through Wake County

Wake County offers a program of well water testing for owners and renters whose drinking water comes from a private well. This is a complete list of all tests offered by Wake County. Packages are listed first. It is not necessary to order individual tests when ordering a package.

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.

While two of the tests may be collected by the well user, most tests must be collected by a professional, either because of preservatives used or a special sampling technique.

When Wake County collects water samples there is a $50 trip fee.

Packages

First Timer’s Package

If you have never had your well water tested, or it has been more than five years since your last test, Wake County recommends the "First Timer's Package," which includes testing for: 

Coliform Bacteria (germs)

Full Inorganic Panel (arsenic, nitrates, nitrites, copper, iron, lead, mercury, selenium, zinc, salts, and more)

Volatile Organic Compounds (chemicals like degreasers, paints and petroleum products)

Pesticides

Cost: $175 + trip fee

How often? Every five years unless you have installed a treatment system. Then follow the installer and manufacturer instructions.

Rads Package

If you live in certain parts of the county or have had problems with radon in indoor air, Wake County recommends testing for radiological contaminants. You can determine if you are in the affected area by searching for your address on the map on this page. The "Rads Package" includes:

Gross Alpha & Beta Activity

Radon (in Water)

Uranium

Radon in Air Test Kit (include a picture of the test kit)

Cost: $140 + trip fee

How often? Every five years unless you have installed a treatment system. Then follow the installer and manufacturer instructions.

Individual tests - many of these are already included in a package

Coliform bacteria (germs)

(This test is included in the First Timer’s Package. Do not order it if ordering that package.)

Fecal coliform bacteria in the water are a sign that the water may have human or animal waste in it.

You can collect this sample yourself. (link to “Can I collect my own water samples?” section of L4 Well Water Testing page)

Cost: $25 + trip fee if Wake County collects this.

How often? Every year for all well users.

Full Inorganic Panel

(This test is included in the First Timer’s Package. Do not order it if ordering that package.)

If you are thinking of getting a water softener or water filter, test your water for inorganics.

This test includes Alkalinity, Fluoride, Hardness, *Nitrate, *Nitrite, pH, Arsenic, Barium, Cadmium, Calcium, Chromium, Copper, *Iron, Lead, Magnesium, Manganese, Mercury, Selenium, Silver, Sodium and Zinc.

You can collect this sample yourself. See the “Can I collect my own water samples?” section of the Well Water Testing page.

Cost: $50 + trip fee if Wake County collects this.

How often? Every 2 to 5 years for all well users unless you have installed a treatment system. Then follow the installer and manufacturer instructions.

*See below for Single Inorganic Analytes if you do not need the full panel.

Volatile Organic Compounds

(This test is included in the First Timer’s Package. Do not order it if ordering that package.)

This test is to detect chemicals like degreasers, paints, petroleum products, and soil fumigants used in farming. Water that is perfectly clear and tastes and smells fine can still have unhealthy levels of these contaminants.

This sample must be collected by a professional.

Cost: $50 + trip fee

How often? Every 5 years for all well users. If you have ever had a positive result, repeat the test according to the advice given at that time. If you have installed a treatment system, follow the installer and manufacturer instructions.

Pesticides

(This test is included in the First Timer’s Package. Do not order it if ordering that package.)

Some pesticides used in the past, either around building foundations or in agricultural practices, are now being detected in well water. Water that is perfectly clear and tastes and smells fine can still have unhealthy levels of these contaminants.

This sample must be collected by a professional.

Cost: $50 + trip fee

How often? Every 5 years for all well users. If you have ever had a positive result, repeat the test according to the advice given at that time. If you have installed a treatment system, follow the installer and manufacturer instructions.

Herbicides

(This test is NOT included in the First Timer’s Package.)

Recommended if you are concerned about herbicides or wood treatment chemicals applied near your well.

This sample must be collected by a professional.

Cost: $50 + trip fee

How often? Every 5 years for all well users. If you have ever had a positive result, repeat the test according to the advice given at that time. If you have installed a treatment system, follow the installer and manufacturer instructions.

Gross Alpha & Beta Radiation

(This test is included in the Rads Package. Do not order it if ordering that package.)

Tests for overall levels of alpha particle radiation from uranium, radium 226 or radium 228 and beta particle radiation from other elements.

This sample must be collected by a professional.

Cost: $50 + trip fee

How often? Every 5 years for all well users. If you have ever had a positive result, repeat the test according to the advice given at that time. If you have installed a treatment system, follow the installer and manufacturer instructions.

Radon in Water

(This test is included in the Rads Package. Do not order it if ordering that package.)

Measures the level of radon gas dissolved in the well water. It is important to also know the level of radon in the air in your home.

This sample must be collected by a professional.

Cost: $50 + trip fee

How often? Every 5 years for all well users. Measure and treat in conjunction with radon in the air in your home. If you have ever had a positive result, repeat the test according to the advice given at that time. If you have installed a treatment system, follow the installer and manufacturer instructions.

Uranium

(This test is included in the Rads Package. Do not order it if ordering that package.)

Tests for the concentration of uranium in your well water. The combination of the gross alpha and uranium results helps to determine whether radium is also a problem.

This sample must be collected by a professional.

Cost: $40 + trip fee

How often? Every 5 years for all well users. If you have ever had a positive result, repeat the test according to the advice given at that time. If you have installed a treatment system, follow the installer and manufacturer instructions.

Radium 226 & 228

(This test is NOT included in the Rads Package.)

While these elements are less of a concern than uranium and radon in Wake County, they do contaminate some wells. The need for these tests is usually determined as a result of gross alpha, gross beta, and uranium testing.

This sample must be collected by a professional.

Cost: $175 + trip fee

How often? As needed when indicated by the results of gross alpha, gross beta, and uranium testing. If you have ever had a positive result, repeat the test according to the advice given at that time. If you have installed a treatment system, follow the installer and manufacturer instructions.

Iron Bacteria

(This test is NOT part of any Wake County testing package.)

These bacteria can affect how well your well works. If your well seems to be producing less water or is having excessive staining problems, the best thing to do is talk to a well specialist.

This sample must be collected by a professional.

Cost: $50 + trip fee

How often? When needed. If you have installed a treatment system, follow the installer and manufacturer instructions.

Sulfur Bacteria

(This test is NOT part of any Wake County testing package.)

These bacteria can cause your water to smell like rotten eggs.

This sample must be collected by a professional.

Cost: $50 + trip fee

How often? When needed. If you have installed a treatment system, follow the installer and manufacturer instructions.

Single Inorganic Analytes

(Many of these tests are included in the First Timer’s Package. Do not order it if ordering that package.)

If your concern is only one or two analytes from the Full Inorganic Panel, it may be more cost effective to order as single analytes.

You can collect this sample yourself if you wish. Go to the "How do I collect my own water samples" section of the Well Water Testing page.

Single Inorganic Analyte: $20 + trip fee if Wake County collects this.

Nitrate / Nitrite: $25 + trip fee if Wake County collects this.

Iron / Sediment: $20 + trip fee if Wake County collects this.

How often? When needed. If you have installed a treatment system, follow the installer and manufacturer instructions.

Analytes included in Wake County Packages

For a complete list of tests available through Wake County click here.