Well water testing
Oxford County Public Health encourages people with private wells to test their well water at least three times a year for bacteria, and once a year for nitrates and fluoride.
Public Health’s free information kit, Keeping Your Well Water Safe to Drink, provides information on the importance of testing your well water regularly, well water construction and maintenance, and water treatment options. The kit is available for pick up at 410 Buller Street or by calling 519-539-9800 ext. 3431, toll-free 1-800-755-0394.
Why test your well water?
Drinking water contaminated with bacteria or high levels of nitrates can cause health problems. Bacteria can cause gastrointestinal illness, including diarrhea. High levels of nitrates can lead to what is called "Blue Baby Syndrome" in infants less than six months of age, affecting the blood’s ability to carry oxygen.
Although the County of Oxford does not add fluoride to municipal drinking water, some parts of the County have levels of naturally occurring fluoride above 1.5 mg/L. Levels of fluoride above this range can cause a condition of the teeth known as fluorosis, which affects the appearance of teeth by causing white flecks or sometimes brown stains or small pits on the tooth surface. This condition occurs while teeth are forming below the gums (usually between the ages 0-6 years). For more information see the Public Health brochure, The Facts about Fluoride and Your Drinking Water.
When to test your well water
If your drinking water comes from a well, it’s important to have your well water tested for bacteria a minimum of three times per year. One sample should be taken in the spring, one in the summer and one in late fall.
You should also test your water:
- After major plumbing work has been done
- If you notice changes in water quality, including taste, odour and appearance
- After flooding has occurred
Tests results help homeowners and occupants determine if their water is safe to drink, or if further investigation of their well is needed. Water samples must be submitted the same day they are taken to ensure accurate results.
Have your water tested, free of charge, for the presence of both Total Coliforms and E. coli bacteria by the Public Health Lab in London, Ontario. All other tests including nitrates and fluoride must be completed by a private laboratory.
Visit one of the locations below to pick up water sample bottles. To ensure accurate results, water samples must be submitted the same day they are taken. If they cannot, refrigerate the sample immediately, for no more than 24 hours.
Bring the sample to one of these local drop-off centres during the designated times:
135 Huron St.
Wed: 2:00 - 5:00 pm
Norwich Township Office
285767 Airport Rd.
Tues: 8:30 - 10:30 am
112 Mill St. E.
Thurs: 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Sindeen Feed & Seed
15 Main St. Princeton
Wed: 8:30 -10:30 am
165 Dundas St. W.
Wed: 5:00 - 8:00 pm
40 Woodstock St. S.
Wed: 3:00 - 5:00 pm
312915 Dereham Line
Tues: 8:30 - 10:00am
167 Rolph St.
Mon-Thurs: 8:00 am - 8 pm
29 Noxon St. Ingersoll
Mon: 8:00 am - 8:00 pm
Fri: 8:00 - 11:00 am
Public Health & Emergency Services
410 Buller Street, Woodstock
Mon-Thurs: 8:30 am - 4:30 pm
Fri: 8:00 - 11:00 am
All Township offices with the exception of South-West Oxford have water sample bottles available for pick up only (you may drop off a water sample at the South-West Oxford Township office).
Where to get more information
Detailed instructions about well water testing and information about how to interpret test results can be found on the Public Health Ontario website.