Why is it a good idea to have my water well checked annually?
An annual checkup by a qualified water well contractor is the best way to ensure problem-free service and quality water. Also, preventative maintenance usually is less costly than emergency maintenance, and good well maintenance—like good car maintenance—can prolong the life of your well and related equipment. You should test your water whenever there is a change in taste, odor, or appearance, or when the system is serviced.
Schedule your annual water well checkup
“Wells can provide high-quality drinking water, and about half the U.S. population receives its drinking water from wells. But with well ownership comes the responsibility of keeping the water well in good working order,” said Todd Marshall, Pollution Control Supervisor for the Winnebago County Health Department.  A check of your well by a qualified water well contractor may include:
  • A flow test to determine system output, along with a check of the water level before and during pumping (if possible), pump motor performance (check amp load, grounding, and line voltage), pressure tank and pressure switch contact, and general water quality (odor, cloudiness, etc.).
  • A well equipment inspection to assure it’s sanitary and meets local code.            
    A test of your water for coliform bacteria and nitrates, and anything else of local concern. Other typical additional tests are those for iron, manganese, water hardness, sulfides, and other water constituents that cause problems with plumbing, staining, water appearance, and odor. 
Marshall also recommends that well owners:
  • Keep hazardous chemicals, such as paint, fertilizer, pesticides, and motor oil far away from your well, and maintain a "clean" zone of at least 50 feet between your well and any kennels and livestock operations.
  • Maintain proper separation between your well and buildings, waste systems, and chemical storage areas.
  • Periodically check the well cover or well cap on top of the casing (well) to ensure it is in good repair and securely attached. Its seal should keep out insects and rodents.
  • Keep your well records in a safe place. These include the construction report, and annual water well system maintenance and water testing results.
The Winnebago County Health Department offers private well water testing for a $29, (Bacteria is $15.00 and Nitrates is $14.00) which includes testing for total coliform, E.coli bacteria, and nitrate screening. Winnebago County residents may stop to pick up well water testing supplies and instructions at the Health Department at 401 Division Street, Rockford, (815) 720-4101, or at one of the lab outreach sites located at:  Cherry Valley Township, 4875 Blackhawk Road, (815) 874-5785; Roscoe Township, 5792 Elevator Road, (815) 623-7323; Farm Bureau, 1925 S. Meridian Road, (815) 962-0653; Rockton Township, 1315 Blackhawk Blvd., (815) 624-7788; Winn. Co. SWCD, 4833 Owen Center Road, (815) 965-2392; Village of Durand, 308 West Main Street, (815) 248-2606; Pecatonica Wastewater Plant, 2nd and Taylor, (815) 239-2348, (815) 239-9330; Village of Machesney Park, 300 Machesney Road, (815) 877-5432. You may use these same locations to drop off samples, on the last Wednesday of the month between 9-11 am.  Test results are available within 24 hours. The Winnebago County Health Department will send the results instructing the resident how to make corrective actions should contamination problems be detected.
 For more information on groundwater testing, please visit the Winnebago County Health Department website atwww.wchd.org, or call 815-720-4101.