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My well water smells strange. Who do I call to make sure it is safe to drink?

Chris Mazzolini

It’s impossible to say whether foul-smelling water is safe to drink, so if you think your well water may have something wrong with it, the best thing to do is get it tested. There’s lots of things that can get into your well (including pesticides and other chemicals and metals) that can cause problems if they are consumed, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.

And just so we are clear: We are talking about private, individual wells here. If you get your water from a government-run utility, such as the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority, your water is already rigorously tested.

If you own a private well, which pulls water up from underground aquifers, you are responsible for making sure the water is safe for consumption.  The EPA recommends that you have your well water tested annually to make sure it’s safe, though you should only use a lab certified by the state to test drinking water. To find a lab, probably the best thing to do is call your county health department: New Hanover County: 798-6500; Brunswick County Environmental Health: 253-2250; and Pender County: 259-1233.

Beyond routine testing, if you think there’s a problem with your water, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services also advises you to call your local health department. Health officials can point you in the right direction in terms of hiring a certified laboratory to test your water. They also can tell you about proper well construction and permitting to make sure your well meets applicable codes, which help make sure the water you drink is safe.

For further info on wells, check out this page (http://h2o.enr.state.nc.us/aps/gpu/well_construction.htm) at the N.C. Division of Water Quality. A frequently-asked-questions link titled “Is Your Well Water Safe?” is particularly relevant to this topic.

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2 Responses to “ My well water smells strange. Who do I call to make sure it is safe to drink?”

  1. On July 26, 2010 at 7:22 pm Susan wrote:

    This is a good place to point out that it’s kind of strange that the state will test your dirt for free to tell you how to grow better grass, but no one will test your water for free to keep you and your family safe and healthy. The county should do at least preliminary testing for individuals who request it.

  2. On February 19, 2013 at 1:14 pm Shirely Pullom wrote:

    Drinkboard is the premiere social eating and drinking app.

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