Suggested Water Quality Testing for Private Wells
The purpose of this document is to identify those water quality contaminants that the Department
of Environmental Services (DES) recommends be tested in private wells. These contaminants are
generally related to New Hampshire's geology and types of land use.
State, Town, and Lender Requirements
There is no state requirement for testing the water quality of private wells; accordingly, the
following information is offered only for educational purposes. State law (RSA 477:4-c),
however, requires that certain information concerning a home’s water system be disclosed to a
purchaser, including an unsatisfactory water test. The term "unsatisfactory water test" is not
defined in statute.
Since there are no state water quality testing requirements, a few towns, primarily in southern
New Hampshire, have identified lists of required water quality test parameters. Such town
requirements are typically expressed as the obligation to test for certain contaminants, but not
necessarily to achieve compliance. This testing is typically associated with the building code
requirements for new construction, such as a certificate of occupancy. Please check with your
town to see if water quality testing of a private well is required and under what circumstances.
The Veterans Administration (VA), Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and many banks
require some water quality testing when writing a mortgage. However, their requirements are not
consistent, and historically there has been more emphasis on factors that pertain to aesthetics
than factors that pertain to health.
LIST OF SUGGESTED CONTAMINANTS
The list of contaminants below has been prepared after a review of the extensive records of
DES's public water supply program. Although more test parameters could be added, this list
provides a reasonable balance between t