Home Water Quality Testing

Safe drinking water is essential to our health. Many New Brunswickers depend on drilled, dug, or spring-fed domestic wells for drinking water, along with other household uses, and so it’s important to know what you can do to ensure the safety of your well water supply. As such, the Government of New Brunswick recommends that your well water be tested at least every year for coliform bacteria and every second year for nitrates. While municipal water is tested regularly at several points within the system, additional testing at home is encouraged.

The Petitcodiac Watershed Alliance (PWA) has been offering individuals a chance to have their water quality tested for a small fee of $14 each for members ($20/year). Included in this fee is the testing for direct water quality parameters including the presence of Coliform bacteria, E. coli, Nitrates, and Phosphates. The term “parameters” refers to the minerals, chemicals and bacteria that are tested in the water sample. Below you will find information pertaining to coliform bacteria, E. coli, Phosphates and Nitrates, in relation to your water quality:

Presence of Coliform bacteria may indicate contamination of the drinking water from human or animal wastes. Although they do not necessarily pose a threat to human health, they do indicate the potential presence of other more harmful bacteria, viruses or protozoa. These bacteria can cause health effects such as diarrhea, cramps and nausea. Water testing will include testing for both fecal coliforms as well as E. coli. bacteria. According to the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality, there should be no detectable E. coli present in the analysis of a 100 ml sample of water.

Nitrates and Phosphates are nutrients found naturally in the environment, however their primarily input sources are from fertilizers which can make their way into our drinking water supplies. In high quantities, these chemicals can result in the blood being unable to carry enough oxygen to the body, which can cause serious injury to infants, pregnant women, nursing mothers or elderly people. These nutrients are colorless, odourless, and tasteless; therefore, testing is necessary to determine their presence. .

Testing of your well-water should be done at times with the greatest likelihood of contamination, such as in early spring after the snow melt, after heavy rains, after long periods of dry conditions, or during new development in your residential area. The PWA will provide you with a sterile bottle in which you can collect a sample, and explain how to successfully grab and transport your home water sample to us. Test results will be available within 2-5 business days after sample submission.

If you are concerned with any of these factors, or would like to have your home’s water tested, please feel free to contact the PWA. Call 384-3369 or email info@petitcodiacwatershed.org.

It is important to note that our lab is not accredited. This means that although we take all steps necessary to function at the required level of standards, if bacteria and/or nutrients are found in quantities outside of acceptable levels, further testing will be required by an accredited lab to follow-up.. Using our lab at a reduced price will save you the money of performing the test.


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