How to Obtain Well Water Testing

Testing well water

Your local county environmental health office can help you arrange for water testing or you can obtain a water sample test kit, sample the water yourself, and send it to a certified drinking water laboratory for analysis.

At a minimum, you should test for coliform bacteria and nitrates. Testing for these contaminants is easy, inexpensive, and can be used to provide basic information on drinking water safety.

There are also other water tests you should consider. Contaminants like arsenic, fluoride, radium, and lead are naturally occurring in some aquifers and if your well is shallow, test for pesticides and other locally used chemicals and compounds.

For additional information on testing your well water, please visit our Private Well Testing web page.

Iowa's Private Well Tracking System

Iowa DNR Private Well Tracking System DatabaseThe Iowa DNR Private Well Tracking System (PWTS) is used by county and state staff to track private well construction permitting, water testing, well renovations and well plugging.

The PWTS is designed and built as an authorized user type of data system for the purpose of well program record keeping. The general public can create an account and view the publically available information.

IIHR-IGS GeoSam Database

IIHR-Iowa Geological Survey GeoSam web site

GeoSam is Iowa’s geologic site and sample tracking program maintained by IIHR-Iowa Geological Survey.

GeoSam provides location, identification, and other key information about every available well, rock exposure, or site of geologic information in Iowa. GeoSam can be searched using either a map-based or text-based interface.

The GeoSam does not require a login to view information stored in the system.

Forms, Guidance and Private well Rules
 
Forms

Generic State well construction application

Please note - local counties may use their own application form. Please check with your local county permitting local county permitting authority.

Form 542-0988

Form 542-0998

Consumer Information Booklet Order Form Form 542-8169
Well Plugging Form Form 542-1226
Well Reconstruction Record Form Form 542-1519
Well Water Testing Record Form Form 542-1207
Well Log Form (IIHR-IGS Well Record Form) Fillable Form

Guidance Documents
  Plugging Abandoned Wells in Iowa 
 What should I do when my well floods?
 Test and Observation Well Guidance and Procedures for Drilling Related to Public Water Supplies
General Permit #6 Summary Guidance A brief Guide to Developing a Well Water Pollution Prevention Plan and Using Best Management Practices
Advisory on the Occurrence of PCBs in Older Submersible Water Well Pumps
Well Interference Technical Bulletin No. 23
High Capacity Well Technical Bulletin No. 23.1
 
567 Iowa Administrative Code (IAC) Private Well Rules
 567 IAC Chapter 38 - Private Water Well Construction Permits  
 567 IAC Chapter 39 - Requirements for Properly Plugging Abandoned Wells
 567 IAC Chapter 49 - Construction Standards - Nonpublic Water Supply Wells
 567 IAC Chapter 82 - Well Contractor Certification
 Private Well Related Administrative Code Definitions
Free Water Testing

In most Iowa counties you can arrange to have your private drinking water well tested for free.

Contact your local county environmental health department for more information.

Who uses private wells?

Approximately 288,000 Iowans obtain their water from a private water supply - nearly all groundwater supply wells.

Did you know

Iowa has:

377 contractors who are certified to drill new wells and renovate old wells.

455 contractors who are certified to install and service well pumps and water systems.

713 contractors who are certified to plug water wells.

Private Well Information Booklet

Iowa DNR Private Well Consumer Information Booklet

Non-Public Water Wells and Water Systems Booket

A guidance booklet designed to help private well owners understand private well construction, water quality, and overall well ownership. It includes important information you should know before you hire a contractor to construct your water well. IDNR Publication No. 542-8168

Well Water Quality and Home Treatment Systems

State Hygienic Lab Well Water Quality and Home Treatment Systems Booklet

Well Water Quality and Home Treatment Systems Booklet

A publication from the State Hygienic Laboratory at the University of Iowa. This booklet provides an overview of common well water contaminants and the water treatment systems commonly used reduce or remove the contaminants.

Iowa Geological Survey's Iowa's Groundwater Basics


Iowa Groundwater Basics

Iowa Groundwater Basics

A Geological Guide to the Occurrence, Use, and Vulnerability of Iowa's Aquifers.

Well Plugging Brochure
Fact Sheet
Fact Sheet
Fact Sheet
Fact Sheet
Iowa DNR Facility Explorer

Link for Iowa DNR Facility Explorer

This is a GIS based mapping system that allows you to view information about many of the permitted sites and other recorded sites around the state.

Iowa DNR Contaminated Sites Database

Link for Iowa DNR Contaminated Sites Database

This web site allows the public to search and find information about contaminated sites and print out results.

Cumulative Risk Calculator

Link for Iowa DNR Cumalative Risk Calculator

The cumulative risk calculator can assess risk to potentially exposed parties, based on three standard exposure scenarios, from multiple contaminants and multiple media (i.e., groundwater, soil, and air).
For More Information

See the other Iowa DNR Private well Web pages for additional topics and information.

www.iowadnr.gov/waterwells
www.iowadnr.gov/privatewells
http://www.iowadnr.gov/karstcontamination
www.iowadnr.gov/privatewelltesting
www.iowadnr.gov/geothermalwells
www.iowadnr.gov/gp6
www.iowadnr.gov/wellplugging
www.iowadnr.gov/welllogs
www.iowadnr.gov/wellcontractorcert
http://www.iowadnr.gov/wellresources
www.iowadnr.gov/wellconstructionpermits

- For more information contact -

Russell Tell, Environmental Specialist Senior
Wallace State Office Building
502 E. 9th Street
Des Moines, IA 50319-0034
(515) 725-0462 or by Fax: (515) 725-0348
russell.tell@dnr.iowa.gov

Spill Reporting

The State of Iowa requires any person manufacturing, storing, handling, transporting, or disposing of a hazardous substance to notify the department and local law enforcement of the occurrence of a hazardous condition. 

The notification should be made as soon as possible but not later than six hours after the onset or discovery of the hazardous condition.

Local law enforcement is also required by Iowa Code to report a "Hazardous Condition" to the department within six hours.

If In Doubt… Report It!

515-725-8694

Iowa DNR Environmental Field Offices

Map of Iowa DNR Environmental Field Offices

The Iowa DNR Field Services and Compliance Bureau includes six field offices located throughout Iowa. They serve as a point of contact for questions about activities and problems related to environmental protection throughout the state. The focus of field office staff is helping citizens, business and industry achieve compliance with Iowa’s environmental programs. Our goal is to coach for compliance rather than collect penalties.

Field office staff conduct routine inspections at facilities permitted by the department and provide technical assistance to help people meet permit requirements. Staff investigate complaints from the public, and respond to spills of hazardous substances from a variety of sources.


Tips for Filing a Complaint (You can remain anonymous):

  • Report it as soon as you see it - if you wait too long, staff may not be able to verify the complaint;
  • Take photos or video;
  • Keep a log with dates and times;
  • Be specific about the location, and;
  • Identify the party responsible if possible - Company name, license plate number, and etcetera.
Find A Field Office

Find the county you are located in and then find the Field Office for your Region

Field Office 1 - NE Iowa

909 W. Main Street, #4
Manchester, Iowa 52057
P: 563-927-2640
F: 563-927-2075
Field Office 1 Staff Roster

Field Office 2 - NC Iowa
2300 15th St. SW
Mason City, Iowa 50401
P: 641-424-4073
F: 641-424-9342
Field Office 2 Staff Roster

Field Office 3 - NW Iowa
1900 N. Grand Ave., Ste. E17
Spencer, Iowa 51301
P: 712-262-4177
F: 712-262-2901
Field Office 3 Staff Roster

Field Office 4 - SW Iowa
1401 Sunnyside Ln.
Atlantic, Iowa 50022
P: 712-243-1934
F: 712-243-6251
Field Office 4 Staff Roster

Field Office 5 - SC Iowa
7900 Hickman Rd., Ste. 200
Windsor Heights, Iowa 50324
P: 515-725-0268
F: 515-725-0218
Field Office 5 Staff Roster

Field Office 6 - SE Iowa
1023 W. Madison
Washington, Iowa 52353
P: 319-653-2135
F: 319-653-2856
Field Office 6 Staff Roster

Additional web resources

Or contact Russell Tell, 515-725-0462 or russell.tell@dnr.iowa.gov