What Should You Test?

The water test(s) to be ordered depends on the source of your water. Choose from the sources below to find more information on testing.

Public Water Supplies

If you pay a bill for your water, or your landlord or housing association pays a bill for your water, your water comes from a public water supply.

If you have a concern about your public water supply, specific public water supply test results, or would like a copy of the Consumer Confidence Report, call the local number listed on your water bill or 800-823-6500 for the Drinking and Groundwater Protection Division of the Agency of Natural Resources.

Your water utility will know what the pipes are made of from their service line to your meter, but they don’t know what pipes you have inside your home. If you are on public water, test your water for lead and copper to find out if your pipes or fixtures are a source of lead or copper with a first draw test.

Order a test kit

Get public drinking water facts

Drinking Water Contaminants for Compliance Monitoring: Under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, all municipal and other public water supplies must be tested regularly for bacteria, nonorganic chemicals, naturally occurring radioactivity, and naturally occurring compounds. Schools on their own wells are public water supply systems, and are tested routinely.

The Water Supply Rule includes a list of contaminants and corresponding contaminant levels. This rule applies to all water systems in Vermont, which include public water systems, bottled water systems, non-public water systems, and privately-owned water sources.

The Drinking Water and Groundwater Protection Division at the Department of Environmental Conservation oversees the testing schedule and compliance.

Private Water Supplies

All landowners of single-family residences who install a new groundwater source for drinking water (for example, a drilled well, a new shallow well, a new driven well point, or a new spring), or who deepen an existing groundwater source, are required to test the water before using it.

The Rules require testing once for:

More information about testing your newly drilled well

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If you have an existing well or spring, you are not required to test the water. However, to ensure that drinking water is safe, the Vermont Department of Health recommends the following testing schedule:

More information about testing your well

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Rental Property Water Supplies

Rental Property Owners- If your rental property is on a private well, you are required by the Rental Housing Health Code to provide safe drinking water. See the information under “Private Water Supplies” for more information.

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Tenants/Renters- If you use a public water supply, your water bill may be paid by your landlord, in which case you probably don't receive the annual Consumer Confidence Report. The report details the water supply information and any elevated test results in your area. To request a copy of this report, or if you have any related questions, call your local water department or 800-823-6500 for the Drinking and Groundwater Protection Division of the Agency of Natural Resources.

If your water comes from a private supply, such as a well or spring, you may ask your landlord to test it. The Vermont Rental Housing Health Code requires that rental water supplies be safe.

If you have unresolved concerns about the quality of your private water supply, you may contact your town health officer, who can take a sample for bacteria, inorganic chemical and gross alpha radiation testing.

Hospitality Industry Water Supplies

If your food or lodging business is on a public water supply, your testing is done by your local water department. You should receive testing information and results in your annual Consumer Confidence Report.

If you have any questions or concerns about your public water supply, call the local number listed on your water bill or 800-823-6500 for the Drinking and Groundwater Protection Division of the Agency of Natural Resources.

If your business is on a private well, you must test for Total Coliform and E. coli using a state-certified lab to analyze the sample.

Water Supplies for Farms and Animals

If you operate a farm or keep animals or livestock, protect your health and the health of the animals by following the recommendations based upon your water supply. For testing irrigation water, a Kit AG is recommended. For more information on testing irrigation water visit our Testing Bacteria in Environmental Water page or view this fact sheet on testing irrigation water.

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