Frequent Questions

Does the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) regulate private household drinking water wells?

The SDWA only applies to public water systems, not to private household drinking water wells. However, EPA does recommend that household well owners test annually for nitrates, total coliform bacteria, pH, and total dissolved solids. Well owners should also check annually with a local agency such as a health or agricultural department to determine if there are any specific contaminants of concern in their local area (e.g., pesticides or fertilizers). In addition, state or local government may regulate private wells. Links to state Web sites and other information about private household drinking water wells is available from EPA at Information is also available from non-profit organizations that work with private well owners, such as the Water Systems Council?s wellcare Hotline, or the American Ground Water Trust (AGWT). The wellcare Hotline is available online at or by contacting (888) 395-1033. AGWT is available online at or by contacting (800) 423-7748.
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