Official State of Iowa Website Here is how you know

How to Obtain Well Water Testing

Testing well water

Your local county environmental health office can help you arrange water testing or you can request a water sample test kit from a certified drinking water laboratory of your choice. The water is then sampled and sent to the laboratory for analysis.

At a minimum, you should test for coliform bacteria and nitrates on a yearly basis, and for arsenic at least once during the life of each well. Depending on the local geology and land use where your well is located, there may be other contaminants that you should test for too. Find out more by visiting our Private Well Testing web page.

Well Plugging Brochure

Well and Water System Inspections

Image of a water well

Are you buying or selling a property with a private well? If so, you should obtain a well and water system inspection before the sale so you know the condition of these resources.

When you need an inspection of your well or water system, please contact your Iowa DNR Certified Well Contractor. Check out the resources below.

Certified Well Drillers

Certified Pump Installers

Information about an annual well check-up

Buying or selling a home with a private well

Wells and Floods

Iowa Civil Air Patrol Iowa flood image

Well Guidance for Flooded Areas

During times of flooding, there's an increased risk that drinking water wells may become contaminated with bacteria and/or any other contaminants that may be present in the flood water.

Any water well and water system, whether deep or shallow, can become contaminated when flooding occurs. Water testing is the only way to know if your well is safe to drink.

Please see our "What should I do when my well floods" document for additional information on this important topic.

Iowa's Private Well Tracking System

Iowa DNR Private Well Tracking System Database screen imageThe 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 as an authorized user type of data system for the purpose of Iowa's well program record keeping. The general public can create an account and view the information stored in the system.

IIHR-IGS GeoSam Database

IIHR-Iowa Geological Survey GeoSam web site image

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

Well Forms
Generic State well construction application (542-0988)
Well Plugging Form (542-1226)
Well Reconstruction Record Form (542-1519)
Well Water Testing Record Form (542-1207)
Well Log Form (Well Record Form) (542-8170)
ADA Well Log Form (542-8170ADA)
Shock Chlorination Form (542-0503)
Well Assessment Form (542-0502)
Well 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
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
Industrial High Capacity Well Brochure
Irrigation Well Brochure
Geothermal Borehole Void Guidance
Well Guidance Documents
Wellcare® Information Sheets by the Water Systems Council
2013 Survey of Iowa Groundwater, IGS TIS 57
Nitrates in Shallow Bedrock Aquifers in NE Iowa
Environmental Protection Agency(EPA) Private Well web pages
Table of Regulated Public Water Supply Drinking Water Contaminants
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
Online Well Databases
The Iowa DNR Private Well Tracking System (PWTS)
The GeoSam Database from the IIHR - Iowa Geological Survey

NEW - GP6 Well Siting Tool

NEW - GP6 Well Siting ToolImage and link for the GP6 Well Siting Atlas

The Iowa DNR recently developed an online GP6 Well Siting Tool to assist landowners, well contractors, and engineers.

The tool is useful for performing desk evaluations of well sites and help determine if the well location will likely require discharge management through GP6. It also helps define which locations likely cannot support well construction discharge due to close proximity of Outstanding Iowa Waters (OIWs).

As a user of this tool, you have access to map layers that will help you identify distances to surface waters and OIWs, locations of sinkholes, karst areas, land slope, and more. It also allows you to print the map you create to use as a resource.

The GP6 Well Siting Tool works with Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox web browsers. Currently, it is not compatible with Internet Explorer. To open and use the GP6 Well Siting Tool, click on the following link:

To learn more about GP6 and the resources available to help you comply, please click on the following link:

Who uses private wells?

Approximately 282,000 Iowans obtain their water from a private water supply - nearly all groundwater supply wells.

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.

Did you know

Iowa has:

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

435 contractors who are certified to install and service well pumps and water systems, and renovate old wells.

And 752 contractors who are certified in one of two categories to plug water wells.

Private Well Information Booklet

Iowa DNR Private Well Consumer Information Booklet image

non-public water wells and water systems booklet

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 image

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 guidebook image

Iowa Groundwater Basics

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

Fact Sheet

Fact Sheet

Fact Sheet

Iowa DNR Facility Explorer

Link for Iowa DNR Facility Explorer and image

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

Image of Contaminated Sites Database screen image

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

Cumulative Risk Calculator

Iowa DNR Risk Calculator web screen image

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).

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!

Iowa DNR Environmental Field Offices

Map of Iowa DNR Environmental Field Offices map

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

1101 Commercial Court, Suite 10
Manchester, IA 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