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Well Water Safety Tips

St. Lawrence County Public Health Department Well Water Safety Tips


Is Your Well Water Safe?

In areas with a public water supply, water is treated with disinfectant and then filtered to remove sediment, unwanted chemicals, and metals.  The same is not true for private well water. As a homeowner, it’s a good idea to have your well water tested to ensure it’s safe for drinking and free from harmful bacteria and chemicals that might otherwise go unnoticed.


When to Test Well Water:

Every Year                  :  Test for coliform (bacteria)                         

Every 3-5 Years          :  Test for pH, turbidity, hardness, alkalinity and contaminants such as

    arsenic, chloride, lead, nitrate, nitrite, manganese, sulfate, and sodium

When problems occur :  Any time there is a change in odor or appearance

:  If your family experiences recurring gastro-intestinal illnesses

:  If you see stained plumbing fixtures

:  If you notice scaly residue buildups

:  If your soaps do not lather


In addition to water testing, homeowners should also conduct a visual inspection of their well every year to ensure the following:

  • The well cap is securely attached
  • The well casing is free from cracks and holes and extends at least 12” from the ground
  • The surrounding ground slopes away from the casing and is free of pooled water and debris
  • Do not store hazardous materials such as chemicals and fertilizer within 100 feet of the well casing

St. Lawrence County Public Health recommends having a well contractor inspect your well at least once a year.


Smell Rotten Eggs?

Hydrogen sulfide is a gas that gives off a distinct ‘rotten egg’ odor and occurs naturally in groundwater. The Environmental Protection Agency does not have limits for hydrogen sulfide because the human nose can detect it at low levels when it is not considered a health risk. The time to become concerned with hydrogen sulfide in your well is when the odor is overpowering and renders your water completely unpalatable. At high levels, it can also corrode metals and cause yellow or black greasy stains on fixtures and inside pipes.   


Where to Test Well Water in St. Lawrence County:

Dunn Paper: Gouverneur, 315-287-7180

Life Science Laboratories:  Waddington, 315-388-4476      

Tap Score:


DEC Registered Well Contractors in St. Lawrence County:

Cleve Greenhill Well Drilling – Gouverneur 315-287-3124

Drake’s Well Drilling Inc – Gouverneur  315-578-2331

Durham Well Drilling – Richville 315-347-2576

Fenlong Well Drilling – Richville 315-287-2076

Greenhill Well Drilling – Gouverneur 315-287-2076

Larry Young Well Drilling – Heuvelton 315-276-4441

Wood Well Drilling – North Bangor 518-483-2932


For Further Information

Essential Well Water Test | SimpleLab Tap Score (

Individual Water Supply Wells - Fact Sheet #3 (

Hydrogen Sulfide (Rotten Egg Odor) in Water Wells (