December 12, 2007
Media Release

York Region reminds you to test your well three times a year

NEWMARKET – The Regional Municipality of York Public Health branch reminds home and cottage owners to test their private well water and inspect their well three times a year.
Well water should also be tested after any repairs or after flooding, if the well has been dormant or if there is a change in water appearance, colour or odour.
The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care offers private well water testing, free of charge, to owners of single family dwellings serviced by a private well. 
These tests measure the presence of both total coliform and Escherichia coli (E. coli) in the water.  Coliform and E. coli are indicators of bacterial contamination and higher levels of them in the water may make the water unsafe to use and drink.  Drinking water that contains harmful bacteria can cause nausea, stomach upset, diarrhea and other health-related problems.
During regular business hours, York Region residents can obtain free bottles for private well water collection at the following locations:
The Tannery Mall
Suite 240, 465 Davis Drive, Town of Newmarket
York Region South Services Centre
2nd Floor, 50 High Tech Road, Town of Richmond Hill
York Region Markham Office
Suite B6-9, 4261 Hwy. 7 East, Town of Markham
Town of Georgina Civic Centre
26557 Civic Centre Road, Town of Georgina
Public health inspectors are also available to assist in the interpretation of the well water results and can offer advice on well disinfection, treatment and maintenance.  Residents can speak with a public health inspector by calling the York Region Health Connection information line at 1-800-361-5653.
In addition to testing well water, private well owners should inspect their well annually to ensure it is free from damage and all components are in good working condition. 
These tips and resources can help keep your private well and well water safe:
• When doing repairs to your well, take the opportunity to upgrade your well to regulation standards.  For more information on well construction, visit the Ministry of the Environment website at
• A Certified Well Guide is available through the Windfall Ecology Centre’s Well Aware Program.  The free guide assists homeowners to assess their well and identify factors that influence the quality and quantity of their well water.  For more information, please visit
• If a well is beyond repair or no longer in use, it should be properly decommissioned by a licensed well contractor.  The Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority may provide assistance for decommissioning of a well.  To learn more about the Lake Simcoe Water Quality Improvement Program, visit
Residents who receive their water from a municipal source do not need to test their water.  Municipal water is routinely tested by the Region and the local municipality.  Water samples from a municipal supply will not be analysed by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care Laboratory.
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Media Contact: Jennifer Mitchell-Emmerson, Community and Health Services, York Region
 Phone:  905 830-4444, ext. 4016 or After-hours Cell: 905 716-2717

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