Well testing shows higher-than-expected failure rates

Aug. 26, 2003

TRENTON - Initial tests done on some private wells in New Jersey have produced failure rates that are at least twice as high as expected by the
state Department of Environmental Protection.

The testing was spurred by the state's Private Well Testing Act, which mandates that drinking wells must be tested for a wide range of contaminants before a home may be sold. The results will be included in a state report on the wells that is due to be issued next month.

Health officials say 20,000 to 30,000 wells were tested, and those that failed had problems ranging from high acidity levels to mercury
contamination. Overall, the officials expect that the testing will confirm something they have known for years: Private wells are not as pure as
property owners believe, and they need to be tested on a regular basis.

About one million people drink from an estimated 390,000 private wells in New Jersey, and officials say many of the problems found in the early
tests - such as high iron and low pH levels - can be remedied with basic water treatment systems.