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Well Water Quality Testing Services

DHEC's Private Well Program and the EQC Laboratories performs analytical testing of water from residential wells for a fee.

Although aquifers are generally free of harmful bacteria, the drilling process can bring bacteria down the borehole. After construction of the well is completed, the well is to be disinfected. However, through time the homeowner may notice a difference in the taste or odor of their water.

The homeowner can deliver samples to their local DHEC office and have analyses done for bacteria, and metals and minerals. Results of the testing are mailed to the well owner along with an explanation of the results.
If warranted, a telephone call is made to the well owner to recommend actions such as well disinfection or inspection. Finally, staff can provide water treatment system alternatives if that option is most appropriate.
If the situation requires immediate attention, the local EQC Regional Office can be contacted for a quick response. As the quality of one's drinking water is a primary factor in enjoying a higher quality of life, customer service is the top priority of the program.

Types of Tests, Fees

Coliform Bacteria Test

The water analysis that residential well owners request most often is the test for coliform bacteria. These bacteria are common in the environment and are generally not harmful. The water sample is tested for the presence of coliform bacteria using the total coliform test. If coliform bacteria are detected, the same water sample is tested for the presence of E. coli, as these germs can cause illness. To have your well water tested for coliform bacteria, pick up a sample kit from any DHEC office. The kit contains a sterile bottle, a Form 1309A and an instruction sheet. Follow the instructions carefully and return the sample as soon as possible to any SCDHEC office. DO NOT PAY THE FEE FOR THE ANALYSIS WHEN YOU DROP OFF YOUR SAMPLE; YOUR INVOICE WILL ACCOMPANY THE ANALYTICAL RESULTS. You should receive the analytical results in the mail about a week later along with an explanation of the results and an invoice for $20.

Metals and Minerals Analysis

The other common analysis conducted for residential well water is the Metals and Minerals analysis. The water sample is analyzed for Chloride, Nitrate/Nitrite, Calcium, Copper, Iron, Hardness, Magnesium, Manganese, Lead, Zinc, Alkalinity and pH. To have your residential well water tested for these items, bring a gallon of water in a clean, plastic bottle with a screw top to the SCDHEC office most convenient to you. Once there, you'll fill out Form 1905 to have the analytical results mailed to you. DO NOT PAY THE FEE FOR THE ANALYSIS WHEN YOU DROP OFF YOUR SAMPLE; YOUR INVOICE WILL ACCOMPANY THE ANALYTICAL RESULTS. A booklet explaining the results will accompany the analyses and an invoice for $50 will be included. A test for Fluoride is also available for an additional $25. The Metals & Minerals tests take between six and eight weeks to be completed.

Fees

Individual Residential Well Monitoring fees are to be charged for water samples collected by individuals from their residential well and submitted to DHEC for analysis. These fees will not be charged if the samples are considered part of a DHEC groundwater contamination investigation and may be waived or reduced based on the individual's ability to pay. Ambient water samples and samples from public water systems will not be accepted and analyzed.

Parameter

Cost

Total or Fecal Coliform

$ 20 per test

Metals and Minerals

$ 50 per sample

Other Inorganic Parameters

$ 25 per parameter

Volatile Organic Chemicals

$50 per sample

Herbicides, Pesticides, and other Synthetic Organic Parameters

$50 per parameter


This fee is separate from permitting fees assessed for the individual residential and irrigation well permitting regulations and the total coliform analysis included in those fees. There are no state appropriations directed for this service. The cost of this 20+ year old program comes from funds appropriated for public drinking water oversight monitoring. The costs of performing these analyses and delivering the results back to the owner have more than doubled in the past 20 years. The proposed fee will not cover 100% of the cost, but will be used to defray a portion. Each year, DHEC analyzes and returns results to private well owners for some 6,000 total and fecal coliform, some 2,000 metals and minerals, and some 200 other chemical parameter samples using laboratory capacity for public drinking water monitoring.

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