Ground Water Canada

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Ontario Federation of Agriculture prioritizes well water testing in 2020


January 10, 2020
By Ground Water Canada

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Brent Royce, director of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, has announced that promoting well water testing among farmers and rural residents will be a priority this year.

Water quality and environmental stewardship continue to be a priority for the Ontario Federation of Agriculture,” Royce said in a news release. “This year, we are working on a new resource to remind farmers and rural residents to prioritize well water testing.”

Bacteria and nitrate are the most common health related contaminants in well water in Ontario. Well owners should test for bacterial contamination using free water tests available through local public health offices. It is recommended property owners test their well water in spring, summer and fall. Bacterial contamination should be tested three times per year, targeting time after a heavy rainfall or snowmelt.

But bacterial contamination isn’t the only impurity that could impact the safety and quality of well water. Royce drew attention to the additional water testing packages for well owners available through the Ontario Ground Water Association.

“Testing for metals, minerals and salts is available to assess nitrates and other common impurities in well water. Be sure to test for these types of impurities if you have a well that taps into bedrock or is a spring source, to check for naturally occurring elements that could cause concern,” he said. Additional tests available through the OGWA include testing for fuels, solvents, fluoride and pesticides. Additional well water testing options are available through private laboratories. Click here for a list of government accredited water testing labs.

Diligent well water testing is vital for the safety of family, employees and animals on every Ontario farm, saying property owners should also consider baseline testing to monitor the quality and quantity of water over time. Owners are encouraged to start this process by obtaining their well record, available online from the Ontario Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks.

“OFA encourages all farm and rural property owners that source their drinking water from a well to regularly test their water – testing for bacterial contamination at least three times a year and investing in additional testing packages when necessary,” Royce said. “We all share a responsibility for the health and safety of our farms and families.”