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State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
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Private Well Testing Act - WELL TEST RESULTS FOR SEPTEMBER 2002 – APRIL 2007

New Jersey passed the Private Well Testing Act in March 2001. The act requires testing of all private wells upon the sale of a property. All wells are required to be tested for bacteria (total coliform/fecal coliform/E. coli), nitrates, lead, and 26 volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) that have federal or state MCLs (maximum contaminant levels). In order to keep costs down for the homeowners, testing for arsenic was limited to 8 of the 10 counties in the northern bedrock part of the state, while testing for mercury was limited to the 9 southern Coastal Plain counties. Because of lab capacity issues, testing for gross alpha particle activity (a surrogate for the presence of radium/uranium) was phased in for 12 counties beginning with the Coastal Plain counties and later extended to three counties in the northern region. The concentration of three water quality parameters (iron and manganese, and pH) related to aesthetics is also required.

The PWTA report is based on 55,749 samples that were submitted between September 2002 and April 2007 to the Private Well Testing Act Program. The samples were collected from 51,028 individual wells throughout the State. A total of 6,369 wells (13%) exceeded one or more of the MCLs. With the exception of lead which is associated with household plumbing, the most frequent problems were associated with naturally occurring contaminants: arsenic (11.8%) and gross alpha particle activity (9.6%); followed by two contaminants which are associated with non-point sources pollution: nitrate (2.7%) and fecal coliform/E. coli (2.2%). Finally, contaminants associated with point sources like VOCs (1.4%) and mercury (0.9%) occurred less frequently.

Full Report

Office of Science
Dr. Gary A. Buchanan, Manager
Mailing Address:
Mail code 428-01, P.O. Box 420
P.O. Box 420
Trenton, NJ 0862

Phone: (609) 984-6070
Fax: (609) 292-7340


For Information regarding this site, please contact Terri Tucker.


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Last Updated: June 17, 2014