Your drinking water can come from many different sources: drilled wells, dug wells, lakes, or rivers. Any water from a lake, river, stream, spring, or dug well could be contaminated by humans and animals. No surface water is safe to drink without treatment. If your drinking water does not come from a municipal water system, it is important to test it regularly – especially if it has not been checked recently or if you notice any changes in its appearance, taste, or smell.
If you have never tested your drinking water, a minimum of 3 samples should be taken, 1-3 weeks apart, to determine a sampling history of your water source. Once you have achieved a sampling history, sampling should be done at least twice per year to ensure your drinking water remains safe.
How do I test my drinking water?
Water sample bottles can be picked up from Northwestern Health Unit offices that ship water samples. Instructions to properly sample your drinking water can be found on the Public Health Ontario website (search water testing: submit a water sample).
Once you have collected your water sample, you can drop it off on a Tuesday one of the Northwestern Health Unit offices to have it shipped for a nominal fee. Please refer to our water sample shipment schedule to find out which offices accept samples and the drop off time.
If you are unable to use our subsidized water shipping program, you do have the option to send a water sample to the public health lab yourself.
What do my water results mean?
You can get your water results by calling the toll free number located on the blue card that came with your water testing bottle – 1-877-723-3426. Make sure that you have a copy of barcode sticker that was found on your water bottle.
To interpret the results, information can be found on the Public Health Ontario website (search drinking water testing).
If your water sample results say your water is unsafe to drink, please contact your local public health inspector at 1-800-830-5978 ext. 3001 during working hours to discuss your results.
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