recommendation for testing well water for agricultural chemicals/bacteria? #282731 - Ask Extension


recommendation for testing well water for agricultural chemicals/bacteria? #282731

Asked October 05, 2015, 2:58 PM EDT

My young family and I live in a cabin surrounded by farmland in rural Rockingham County.  I want to get my well water tested for contaminants that may be in my water--I am particularly concerned about bacteria from organic fertilizer and about herbicides (I know the farmers around me use glysophate/roundup).  Are these the right things to be worried about? How can I get my water tested?

Rockingham County Virginia

Expert Response

We have an Extension program that offers well testing and education in Virginia. I coordinate this program with agents in local Extension offices.  We just had a program in Rockingham, but there is a program planned for Augusta the beginning of November you could participate in.  The contact information for that program is John Benner
We do not offer testing for pesticides or herbicides, but do test for total coliform and E. coli, nitrate, sodium, sulfate, iron, manganese, hardness, fluoride, arsenic, lead, copper, pH, and TDS.  The cost is $50.  

Some certified labs do offer testing for specific pesticides and herbicides.  If you test with a certified lab, we can help you interpret results. There is a list of certified labs here:

At a minimum, I recommend you test for total coliform and E. coli.  Nitrate is a good idea too.

Feel free to contact me with any additional questions.  For more information on our program, please visit:  

Erin Ling Replied October 06, 2015, 11:05 AM EDT

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