HAMILTON, ON – March 21, 2016 – On the occasion of World Water Day 2016, March 22, Hamilton Public Health Services is reminding rural well or cistern owners/users that year-round private residential well water bacterial testing is provided free by Public Health Ontario and Hamilton Public Health Services.

In 2015 approximately 17 per cent of 2327 well water samples submitted for testing had unsafe levels of bacteria present. Of these, 13 per cent had Coliform bacteria present and 4 per cent had E. coli bacteria present.

“Bacteria such as E.coli can contaminate a private water supply and put the health of those who use it at risk. Even relatively small changes such as a new crack in the well’s wall or a heavy rainfall can result in significant changes in water quality,” explains Dr. Jessica Hopkins, Associate Medical Officer of Health for the City of Hamilton. “To ensure consistently safe drinking water for you and your family you should start by testing your well or cistern’s water at least three different times of the year, each year.”

Residents with private wells and cisterns are reminded to test the safety of their private well supply, to know where their well or cistern is located, and make sure that their water supply is properly constructed and maintained to protect their drinking water from sources of contamination.

Recommended times to test for bacteria are immediately following spring melt, in mid-summer and in the fall. The quality of your well may vary throughout the year, especially during periods of heavy rain.

Water bottles for free bacteria testing along with information on well maintenance can be picked up at all Municipal Service Centres or at any of these additional community partner locations:

  • Highland Country Markets, 432 Highland Road East, Stoney Creek
  • Valens General Store (formerly Dee’s), 1817 Regional Road 97, Valens
  • Copetown General Store, 2012 Governors Road, Copetown
  • Carlisle Post Office, Centre Road, Carlisle
  • Rockton Berry Farm, 621 Hwy #8, Rockton
  • Lynden Post Office, 94 Lynden Rd., Lynden

Filled water sample bottles must be kept cold and returned to a Municipal Service Centre, Monday to Thursday, or directly to the Public Health Ontario Laboratory at 250 Fennel Avenue West, Monday to Friday, within 24 hours of sample collection.

If you have any questions about the safety of your well water, how to interpret your results or would like to receive information on how to care for your well, contact the Public Health Services Safe Water Infoline at (905) 546-2189 or visit www.hamilton.ca/safewater.

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