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How to get your drinking water tested

There are many reasons to get your drinking water tested, including but not limited to...

  • An unusual color or odor in your drinking water
  • Selling or buying a home with a drinking water well
  • Installing or maintaining a drinking water well on your property

Groundwater conditions can change over time and EGLE recommends you inspect your well and test for coliform bacteria and nitrates annually as a part of routine well maintenance.

Test your water in 4 easy steps

The following steps apply to homeowners who have a private residential well.

If you are on a community water supply, please note that your community water supplier is legally required to regularly test the water they provide as part of the Safe Drinking Water Act and make the results available to their customers. If you still have concerns and would like to test your water, proceed to step 1.

Step 1
Find out what you need to test for

You should contact your local health department for a recommendation of what to have your water tested for. Recommendations may differ based on water conditions in your area, household makeup, and your own water quality concerns. Visit MALPH.org to find your local health department.

Standard water quality concerns for private wells include coliforms, nitrites, some metals (like arsenic and lead), and any other additional parameters recommended by your Local Health Department, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), or EGLE's drinking water program.

Still not sure what to test for? Find your concern (taste, smell, odor, color, etc.) using our Common Drinking Water Quality Concerns page to find which test(s) may be recommended based on what you're concerned about.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) recommends that, at a minimum, all private wells should be tested for coliform bacteria and nitrate/nitrite.

The EGLE drinking water laboratory offers many tests, including microbiology, inorganics, organics, and metals. Review our Request for Water Analysis Form to learn what we test for, and use our Testing Fee Schedule to check which items are included under specific bundles.

Step 2
Contact a lab to request a test kit

EGLE laboratory:

Call the lab at 517-335-8184 to request your test kit(s).

You can choose to ship your order to your home or you may pick it up at the laboratory by scheduling a pickup appointment when you're notified that your order is ready. 

Please allow 5-7 business days to process your order, plus additional time for shipping.

Private laboratory:

To locate a private laboratory in your area, visit our Laboratory Certification Program page and select the laboratory list you're most interested in.

Step 3
Collect and submit your water sample
Carefully read all instructions provided with your test kit(s) before collecting your sample. 

 

EGLE laboratory:

If you ordered a kit from the EGLE lab, we have several video tutorials available.

Collect your sample and review the form to ensure it is accurate and complete. Samples submitted with incomplete forms will be rejected by the laboratory. Submit your sample as detailed on the analysis request form. Options may include:

  • In-person with a scheduled appointment
  • U.S. Postal Service
  • UPS (United Parcel Service)
  • FedEx (Federal Express)

If you have additional collection or submittal questions, contact the EGLE Laboratory at 517-335-8184.

Carefully read all instructions provided with your test kit(s) before collecting your sample. 

 

Private laboratory:

Contact your selected laboratory with any questions regarding sample collection, submission, or reporting.

Step 4
Interpret your results

The EGLE drinking water laboratory does not make interpretations about your water quality or water sample test results. We recommend that you contact your local health department if you have specific questions about your results and recommendations for any actions you should take in caring for your well and your water source. Find your county's local health department at MALPH.org/Resources/Directory.

In addition, you can use the Be Well Informed application. This web-based application, hosted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), allows you to enter your lab results and get information tailored to your specific results. The results summary will indicates whether your water meets federal and state health-based standards (Maximum Contaminant Levels - MCLs) as well as other guidelines (Secondary Maximum Contaminant Levels - SMCLs, health advisory levels, etc.). These standards and guidelines are often referred to as "limits" on your laboratory report. If your water exceeds or is approaching established federal/state drinking water limits or advisory levels for the contaminant(s) entered, additional health information and treatment options will be shown.

What else should I know?

Care for MI drinking water

Find information about well care and water quality

Common drinking water quality concerns

Learn what changes in taste, color, odor, appearance, and pressure may mean

Find my well record

Look up your well records if you don't have them

Have more questions?

Visit our testing and sampling frequently asked questions page