We depend on clean drinking water to keep us healthy. About 40% of Vermonters have private wells for drinking water. In Vermont, there are naturally occurring elements—including radioactive elements—human-made contaminants, and other substances added to drinking water to serve a purpose.
These contaminants have different characteristics, which means their relationship to human health differs. For example, fluoride, manganese and sodium benefit health if the amount ingested is not too high. Copper is needed to make the body’s red blood cells, but too much can cause stomachaches, vomiting, or diarrhea. And lead has no use in the human body.
The Health Department provides guidance to private well owners about what to test their drinking water for as well as current information on contaminant levels and guidelines to be used in the evaluating drinking water supplies.
It is important to test your private well for contaminants on a regular basis. You often cannot see, smell or taste naturally occurring elements, and they can affect your health. Learn more about private drinking water sources and contaminants, what to test for and when, how to treat your water, how to disinfect your water source, and what to do before and after a flood.