Well Water Testing

Testing water from private wells is the responsibility of each well owner. To ensure your well water is safe to drink, Public Health Services recommends testing your well water at least three times each year for bacteria. About 24% of water samples from private residential wells and cisterns in Hamilton had unsafe levels of bacteria in 2012.

How to test well water

The Ministry of Health and Long Term Care provides free water testing for bacteria, including E.coli and total coliform, from private wells.

Follow these steps to test your well water:

  • Municipal Service Centres are open Monday to Friday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.
  • The Public Health Lab is open Monday to Friday 8:30 am to 4 pm.
  • Hours for additional locations vary.
Locations in Ancaster Pick-up Drop-off Availability
Municipal Service Centre
300 Wilson Street East, Ancaster, Ontario
yes yes year-round

Copetown General Store
2012 Governors Road, Copetown, Ontario

yes no year-round
Locations in Dundas Pick-up Drop-off Availability

Municipal Service Centre
60 Main Street, Dundas, Ontario

yes yes year-round
Locations in Flamborough Pick-up Drop-off Availability

Municipal Service Centre
163 Dundas Street East, Waterdown, Ontario

yes yes year-round

97 General Store
1817 Regional Road 97, Valens, Ontario

yes no year-round

Carlisle Post Office
Centre Road, Carlisle, Ontario

yes no  year-round

Rockton Berry Farm
621 Highway 8, Rockton, Ontario

yes no  

Lynden Post Office
94 Lynden Road, Lynden, Ontario

yes no year-round
Locations in Glanbrook Pick-up Drop-off Availability

Municipal Service Centre
4280 Binbrook Road, Glanbrook, Ontario

yes yes year-round
Locations in Hamilton Pick-up Drop-off Availability

Public Health Lab
250 Fennell Avenue West, Hamilton, Ontario

yes yes year-round

Hamilton City Hall
71 Main Street West, Hamilton, Ontario

yes yes year-round
Locations in Stoney Creek Pick-up Drop-off Availability

Municipal Service Centre
777 Highway 8, Stoney Creek, Ontario

yes yes year-round

Highland Country Markets
432 Highland Road East, Stoney Creek, Ontario

yes no year-round

Use the sample bottle provided by the Ministry to collect a water sample.  Follow the instructions that come with the bottle closely for accurate results.

Bring your water sample to one of the locations that accepts drop-off’s listed above within 12 hours of collecting it from your well. Keep the water sample cool while you bring it in for testing. Sample freshness is essential for accurate tests.

Complete the form provided in the test kit so results can be mailed to you or write down the number below the bar code on the bottle so you can call in to get test results later.

The Public Health Lab cannot accept water samples from untreated surface water such as lakes, streams and ponds.

Wait for your water test results. If you completed the form provided in the testing kit, your water test results are mailed to your home. Otherwise, follow the instructions on the blue card enclosed with your testing kit to get your test results from the automated telephone system.

Well water test results

You will get your well water test results by mail if you completed the form in the testing kit or you can follow instructions on the blue card enclosed with your testing kit to get test results from the automated telephone system.

How often to test well water

If you have not tested water from your well for over a year, we recommend you test it immediately:

  • Follow instructions above for how to test well water, but take three water samples at least one week apart.
  • If you have water treatment devices attached to your plumbing, you may choose to submit two drinking water samples: one from a tap used for drinking water and the other sample from a location prior to treatment. This helps determine the level of bacteria not only in your tap water but also in your well. 

After the initial testing, we recommend you test your well at least three times during the year

  • immediately after the snow melts in spring
  • in the middle of summer
  • in the fall

The quality of your well may vary throughout the year, especially during periods of heavy rain.