Well Water Testing

Well Water Testing |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamIf you live on an acreage in Parkland County near Stony Plain or Spruce Grove, you may get your drinking water from a well on your property, and you know how critical maintaining the health of that well can be.  But did you know that you can (and should) get your well water tested regularly for free by the provincial government through Alberta Health Services?  It is recommended that bacteriological analyses be performed up to 4 times per year, and a chemical analysis once per year.

Testing for bacteria is done at the Provincial Laboratory of Public Health at the University of Alberta Hospital in Edmonton, and chemical analyses are done at the Centre for Toxicology at the University of Calgary.  But you don’t have to travel to either of those locations for this service.  Spruce Grove is home to an Environmental Public Health Office located at 205 Diamond Avenue where you can pick up special containers in which to collect your samples and to drop them off.  Hours of operation are Monday to Thursday mornings.  Call them at 780-342-1380.

The following is an excerpt from the brochure published by Alberta Health Services (no longer available online) entitled “Evaluating Private Drinking Water Supplies and Sampling Instructions”.

A full evaluation of a private water supply involves sampling for both bacteriological and chemical analysis.

Bacteriological and chemical analysis and the evaluation of results against established standards are essential for determining the initial and ongoing safety of drinking water.  Other factors such as appearance, odor and field knowledge also assist in determining the presence of potential contamination or existing pollution.

A bacteriological analysis should be performed quarterly, or when contamination of the water supply is suspected.   Bacteriological analysis includes the presence of total coliforms and E. coli.

A chemical analysis should be performed on all new, redeveloped or unregistered wells and re-sampled annually.  Chemical analysis includes seventeen parameters as outlined in the Canadian Drinking Water Guidelines.  It is recommended that parents with newborn babies or young children submit drinking water samples for both analyses.

Note that this free service is available only for drinking water for human consumption from a raw water supply.   Alberta Health Services includes the following cautions in their brochure:

“Well water samples are NOT accepted for mortgage purposes, livestock consumption, Giardia analysis, fish disease or algae analysis, or to check the effectiveness of water treatment equipment.”

“Chemical analysis WILL NOT be performed on the following sources:

  • Municipal (licensed) water supplies
  • Water for mortgage approval
  • Bottled water
  • Water from private contractors (including water well drillers)
  • Water collected outside of the Province of Alberta
  • Water from other Government agencies”

You can, of course, hire private companies to test your water for the purposes which Alberta Health Services exclude from their free testing service.  DynaLifeDX Diagnostic Lab Services is one such company performing bacteriological analyses.

In addition to the above information about well water testing, it should be noted that:

  • If you have a shallow well that is close to a surface water body, such as a dugout, river, etc., it may require treatment to ensure its safety.
  • If you store water in a cistern, it should be pumped clean and disinfected with a bleach solution at least once a year to control bacteria and algae.  If a water hauler is used to fill the cistern, ensure the hauler is approved by Alberta Health Services.  Water should be tested for bacteriological quality twice per year.
  • Water from a dugout should not be used for drinking unless filtered and disinfected.  Treated water should be tested for bacteriological quality every three months, and for chemical quality once per year.

I always welcome your comments or questions!  Phone me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.


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Barry Twynam, Realty Executives Leading
#1 14 McLeod Avenue, Spruce Grove, Alberta, T7X 3X3
Tel: 780-962-9696 Cell: 780-910-9669 Fax: 780-962-9699
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