Private Well Water Information
In Kansas, there are many people that rely on private water wells as a household source of drinking water. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the State of Kansas have regulations that protect public drinking water systems, but they do not apply to privately owned wells. As a result, private well water owners and users are responsible for ensuring that their water is safe from contaminants.
Private well water testing is the best way to evaluate the quality and safety of private well water. Wells require annual maintenance, and in some situations, more often depending on the location, construction, history, or natural events that could impact the well. Private well water testing and maintenance are the well owner’s responsibility. Contaminants in drinking water can cause health effects and may not be noticeable by color, turbidity, taste, or odor. To ensure that water is free from disease-causing organisms and pollutants, well owners should follow recommended guidelines for well testing which varies based on contaminant. Some county sanitary codes require water testing for private wells, therefore well owner’s must check with their local health department or county sanitarian to determine requirements in their area. If you are located within a city, you will want to contact your municipality to find out if they have additional requirements within city limits.
Private wells can become contaminated by ground water pollution. Some sources of pollution could be well location that is too close to a septic system, failure of a septic tank, underground fuel tanks, seepage through landfills, fertilizers and pesticides, and even runoff from urban areas. Regular well water testing is a way to ensure that the water is safe, free of disease causing organisms, and has low levels of pollutants. You can contact your local health department, county environmental health sanitarian, or county extension office.
In 2017, a pilot project was conducted by the Kansas Environmental Public Health Tracking Program to understand current private well water data collection activities in Kansas. A report was written that summarizes the findings and can be downloaded by clicking on Wading into Well Water.
Bureau of Water
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment Bureau of Water and the Bureau of Environmental Field Services administers programs related to public water supplies, wastewater treatment systems, the disposal of sewage, and non-point sources of pollution. Programs are designed to provide safe drinking water, prevent water pollution, and assure compliance with state and federal laws and regulations.
PFAS Analytic Tools
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released an interactive webpage, called the “PFAS Analytic Tools,” which provides information about per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) across the country. This information will help the public, researchers, and other stakeholders better understand potential PFAS sources in their communities. The PFAS Analytic Tools bring together multiple sources of information in one spot with mapping, charting, and filtering functions, allowing the public to see where testing has been done and what level of detections were measured. EPA’s PFAS Analytic Tools draws from multiple national databases and reports to consolidate information in one webpage. The PFAS Analytic Tools includes information on Clean Water Act PFAS discharges from permitted sources, reported spills containing PFAS constituents, facilities historically manufacturing or importing PFAS, federally owned locations where PFAS is being investigated, transfers of PFAS-containing waste, PFAS detection in natural resources such as fish or surface water, and drinking water testing results. The tools cover a broad list of PFAS and represent EPA’s ongoing efforts to provide the public with access to the growing amount of testing information that is available.
Mapping and Informational Resources