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What Is It?

Significant Impact Across Hunterdon County

What is a Private Well

Rental Property Not Exempt

When Water Tests Go Bad

Current Health Department Activities

After September 14

Mandatory Well Testing Parameters

Other Effects of Private Well Testing Act

Additional Considerations


Some "Key" Time Frames

Who To Contact With Questions
Private Well Testing Act
Hunterdon County

What Is It? Test Tube
  • New Law enacted by State Legislature and signed by Acting Governor in March 2001.
  • Implementing regulations published in May 6th NJ Register; possibly will be adopted September 16th.
  • Becomes effective September 14, 2002.

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Significant Impact Across Hunterdon County Test Tube
  • Requires private well water supplies to be tested and results disclosed to buyer and seller PRIOR TO transfer of title. Must be a provision in contract of sale. Both must certify in writing.
  • Hunterdon County is averaging nearly 3,000 real estate transactions per year involving such properties. Average cost expected to be around $500 per test ($1.5M).

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What is a Private Well? Test Tube
  • “A well that has less than 15 service connections or that does not regularly serve an average of at least 25 individuals daily for at least 60 days per year.” (Source: Safe Drinking Water Act)

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Rental Property Not Exempt Test Tube
  • Requires landlords of properties serviced by private wells to test the water by March 2004 and provide tenants with results.
  • Landlords must resample every five years thereafter.

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When Water Tests Go Bad Test Tube
  • New Jersey Department of Protection (NJDEP) estimates that 10% of wells tested will not meet drinking water standards.
  • Real estate closing dates could be delayed.
  • Lab results reported to New Jersey Department of Protection (NJDEP) are confidential.
  • Significantly increases work load on health department staff to investigate failing reports, including area notifications and expanded testing to define scope of problem.

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Current Health Department Activities Test Tube
  • Perform 500-600 new well inspections per year.
  • Conduct water sampling of these wells.
  • Issue Certificates of Compliance based upon those results.
  • Investigate some contaminated wells.

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After September 14th Test Tube
  • Hunterdon County will continue to inspect all new wells.
  • Well permit fee ordinance will be reduced to reflect the change in water testing responsibility.
  • Water testing requirements for all new wells be same as for home resales.
  • All of these results must meet New Jersey Department of Protection (NJDEP) drinking water standards.
  • We are bracing for as many as 300 well test failures in upcoming year.

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Mandatory Well Testing Parameters Test Tube
  • Coliform
  • Iron
  • Nitrate
  • Manganese
  • pH
  • Lead
  • Arsenic
  • Volatile Organic Compounds (for those with established MCL’s)
  • 48-hour Gross Alpha (radium screen) (required as of March 2004)

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Other Effects of Private Well Testing Act Test Tube
  • More wells near contaminated wells will require testing.
  • Increased interaction between public and Department of Health re: interpretation of test results, remediation strategies, costs, etc.
  • Development of standardized DEP guidelines and “Fact Sheets” .
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Additional Considerations Test Tube
  • Sealed records will be kept by Department of Health.
  • Remediation assistance will be available thru Spill Fund and NJ Housing & Mortgage Finance Agency.
  • Testing data will be compiled and analyzed by NJDEP and county Health Departments.
  • Either seller or buyer may arrange and/or pay for testing.
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Challenges / Questions Test Tube
  • Private Water Testing Act (PWTA) samples must be “raw water” (not run through any treatment units). Learning the quality of the “tap water” may require yet another test -- will it become customary to run both tests to get a complete picture?
  • How will “borderline” results be interpreted?
  • Requires more advance planning and coordination between builders, well drillers, municipal officials, attorneys, realtors, bankers, and Department of Health.
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Some "Key" Time Frames Test Tube
  • 24 hours (lab notification of “acute” failures)
  • 5 business days (lab reports to DEP/DEP reports to HD’s)
  • 6 months (coliform tests valid for)
  • 1 year (rest of analytical results valid for)
  • 18 months (48 hour Gross Alpha test kicks in)
  • 5 years (landlords must retest)
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Who to Contact with Questions Test Tube
Health Department contact information
Main Phone Number: 908-788-1351

County Health Department's Website
Email us at

For other environmental information:
County Health Department's Environmental Health Services Website
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