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Well Water Testing

Young girl holding glass of water

Holiday Closure - Monday July 1, 2024

Please note our offices are closed on Canada Day, for this holiday our water sample drop-off deadlines have changed to: 

Haliburton Thursday June 27th at 4:30 p.m.

Lindsay Thursday June 27th at 11:45 a.m.

Port Hope Thursday June 27th at 10:30 a.m. 

Ground water is usually clean and safe for consumption. But contamination can occur from improper installation or run-off water entering the well. Proper location, construction and maintenance of your well is important. 

If you get your water supply from a private well, you need to test the water at least twice a year to be sure it is safe. Drinking water that has harmful bacteria in it can make you sick. These bacteria can cause you to have stomach cramps, nausea and diarrhea. The only way to make sure that your water supply is safe to drink is with regular testing.  

Testing for bacteria is free of charge. 

Testing Your Drinking Water 

The Ontario Public Health Laboratories will test your water for bacteria (E. Coli and total coliforms). This service is free for all private drinking water system owners (e.g., wells that serve a single home or cottage).

Additional Resources

 

  • Drinking water sample collection kits can be picked up and dropped off at many locations within the HKPR District Health Unit area.  
  • Water samples will only be accepted if collected directly into these sterile bottles. 
  • Please note that the HKPR District Health Unit and the Public Health Ontario Lab are separate organizations. The Health Unit does not test the water, but deliver the samples to the lab.
  • Water samples must be submitted to public health lab within 48 hours (about 2 days).
  • You should collect your water sample as close to the time of delivery as possible to avoid delays in testing. 
  • The Public Health Ontario Laboratories do not test for other contaminants such as chemicals and minerals. If you would like to test your water for other contaminants, please contact a private licensed laboratory. 

  • Follow the steps provided carefully so that the sterile water sample bottle does not become contaminated, and sample water only intended for drinking water (i.e., do not sample from untreated lake water). 
  • Your water sample must also be kept cool – do not store or transport it in warm places such as your trunk. Results are unreliable if the sample is improperly collected, stored, or transported. 

How to Take a Well Water Sample

Watch this Health Unit video that takes you through the steps to taking a more accurate well water sample.

Water samples can be dropped off at a Health Unit office, participating locations, or at a Public Health Ontario Laboratory. Please check drop off locations and times to ensure you water will be accepted for testing. 

Test results are available within two to four business days after you drop off your sample. There are several ways to access your results: 

Telephone

The toll-free Interactive Voice Response (IVR) is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-877-723-3426 follow instructions on the “blue card” within the water sample collection kit. 

Mail

If you indicated on the form that you want the report mailed or made no choice, the report will be mailed to the name and address written on the form.

In Person

If you indicated on the form that you will pick up the report at the Public Health Ontario laboratory, proceed to show your photo identification at the reception desk during regular operating hours. If someone is picking up the report on your behalf, they will need a Potability of Water Release form signed by the submitter and their photo identification. 

Email

A written request must be submitted, including the period of results you are looking for, sample barcode(s) if available and the location of the water source. Ensure you include street address or lot and concession number, township/municipality, county, and postal code. You may send your request by e-mail to customerservicecentre@oahpp.ca. 

Your test results may include the following terms:

Total Coliform Bacteria:

The presence of coliforms may indicate a contaminated water supply. Coliforms occur naturally in the soil and decaying vegetation, but may also be associated with human and animal fecal contamination. Given the vulnerability of well water to external influence, such as human, environmental and agricultural impacts, it is important to test water frequently.

Escherichia coli (E. coli) Bacteria:

Escherichia coli can be isolated from the fecal material found in the intestines of humans and other warm-blooded animals. These bacteria are found only in the digestive systems of people and animals. Their presence in your well is usually the result of contamination from a nearby source.

The water sample is esthetically unclean for drinking:

Public health laboratories will not analyze a sample they deem unsuitable for testing due to its appearance or odour. As well, samples are sometimes returned without analysis because they contain particles and risk damaging lab equipment.

Waters that are unsuitable for testing can contain other substances such as iron or other minerals which make water unclean for drinking. In such cases, a water filtration system needs to be installed before proceeding to a bacteriological analysis of the water. Private laboratories may assist you in identifying some of these other substances.

Visit Public Health Ontario for help analyze your results and for more information.

Pick Up / Drop Off a Water Sample Test Kit Locations

You can pick up a water testing kit/bottle at the following locations:

Brighton Public Library 35 Alice Street, Brighton

Monday to Thursday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Pick up / Drop Off Location

Coboconk Municipal Service Centre 9 Grandy Road, Coboconk

NOTE: This site will be closing for approximately 6 months effective October 30, 2023 - Last water pick up / drop off will be October 25th

Tuesday 2:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Wednesday 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Pick Up / Drop Off Location

Highlands East Municipal Office 2249 Loop Road, Wilberforce

Summer Hours (April 15 to October 1), Monday and Wednesday 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Winter Hours (October 2 to April 14), Wednesday 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Pick Up / Drop Off Location

HKPR District Health Unit - Haliburton Office 191 Highland Street, Unit 301

Monday to Thursday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Located inside office (Top floor of the Dawson Gray building)

Pick Up / Drop Off Location

HKPR District Health Unit - Lindsay Office 108 Angeline Street South

Monday to Thursday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Friday 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.


Located inside first set of doors in vestibule.

Pick Up / Drop Off Location

HKPR District Health Unit - Port Hope Office 200 Rose Glen Road, Port Hope

Monday to Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Friday 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.


Located outside main doors in black and red bin.

Pick Up / Drop Off Location

Minden Public Library 176 Bobcaygeon Road, Minden

Tuesday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Thursday 12:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Pick Up / Drop Off Location

Omemee Municipal Service Centre 1 King Street West, Omemee

Tuesday 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Wednesday 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

Pick Up / Drop Off Location

Rx Drug Mart - Guardian Pharmacy 16 Grand Road, Campbellford

Monday to Thursday, 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Pick Up / Drop Off Location

Pick Up a Water Sample Kit Locations

You can Only pick up a water sample test kit at the following locations (no drop off):

Alnwick/Haldimand Township Office 10836 County Rd 2, Grafton

Monday to Friday 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Pick Up Bottle Only - No drop off

Bobcaygeon Municipal Service Centre 123 East Street, Bobcaygeon

Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Pick Up Bottle Only - No Drop Off 

Fenelon Falls Library 21 Market Street, Fenelon Falls

Monday to Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Pick Up Bottle Only - No Drop Off

Lindsay Municipal Service Centre 26 Francis St, Lindsay

Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Pick Up Bottle Only - No Drop Off

Water samples will be sent to the Public Health Ontario lab in Peterborough (99 Hospital Drive) for testing. Results can be picked up in-person at this location (hours are Monday to Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm). Well owners can also request to have a copy of their drinking water test results sent directly to them.

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