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​​Private Well Water

The Division of Environmental Health Epidemiology (DEHE) works to ensure safe, private well drinking water by addressing the causes and consequences of contaminated ground and surface water and the associated health risks from using contaminated private well water (see Private Well Water Fact Sheet), assessing knowledge of private well water care or maintenance, encouraging, and funding testing and mitigation.

According to the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey's 2020 data, an estimated 26% of Pennsylvania's adults rely on private well water as their main drinking water source. The EHC Program is partnering with Penn State Extension's Drinking Water Program to offer free water testing for private well owners.

Penn State's Analytical Agricultural Analytical Lab publishes all drinking water quality test results collected since 2007, sorted by county. Penn State Extension also provides information on how to obtain and submit water testing kits. Interested individuals can also enroll in free online classes through the Private Well Class that are designed to help a homeowner better understand how to properly care for their water well, to ensure their water remains safe to drink.

DEHE has created a guide​ to help individuals understand and interpret their well water test results. This guide helps to highlight at what level contaminants may cause aesthetic changes to water (such as changes in smell, color, or taste) as well as when the water is no longer advised to drink. Well water treatment options for common contaminants are also discussed. 

Additionally, DEHE has prepared a  report summarizing United States Geological Survey well water data for those residing in seven Northern PA counties including Bradford, Clinton, Lycoming, Pike, Potter, Sullivan, and Wayne. The purpose of this report is to educate and inform actions by private well owners and to raise drinking water quality awareness among public health stakeholders.

Activities related to private well water are funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Environmental Health Capacity Grant.

For more information and to learn about free private well testing through Penn State Extension, please contact us at or 717-787-3350.