water testing in South Jersey

Frequently Asked

PWTA Testing

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The questions and answers are divided into three main sections:
What do I need to know ahead of time?
What do I need to know afterwards?
What information is available to me to learn more?

What do I need to know ahead of time?

How much does the testing cost?
The going rate is $495 per sample, however SJWT is offering an introductory price of $425. This will include sampling, certified field pH analysis, bacteriological and chemical analyses, Global Positioning System (GPS) location coordinates in accordance with NJDEP Standards, N.J.A.C. 7:1D, and electronic data reporting as required by the NJDEP Regulations. Please give us a call to receive a firm quote and to discuss any special pricing discounts available. Toll Free (866) 875-3506.

What form of payment is accepted?
We accept cash, checks and credit cards. For commercial accounts, credit terms can be arranged.

Does the PWTA specify who must collect the sample?
Yes. An employee or it’s "authorized representative" of a NJDEP certified laboratory must collect the sample. An employee of a NJDEP certified laboratory must perform the field pH analysis.

Does the PWTA specify who must analyze the sample?
Yes. A NJDEP certified laboratory must analyze the sample.

Prior to the sampling technician arriving, what preparation can I do?
The sampling technician is instructed to ask you certain questions to help insure that sampling in done correctly. Take a moment to read over this list.

• What is the NJ Well Permit or Well Record Number?
• What is the name of the Well Drilling Company that installed the well?
• When was the well drilled/installed?
• What is the depth of the well?
• Where is the well located?
• What volume of water does the well pump (i.e., gallons/minute or hour)
• What type, if any, Water Treatment System or Device is being used?
• Is there a place in the plumbing system with a tap or spigot
   that raw well water (untreated) can be collected?
• What is the distance of the well from any septic systems or Underground Storage Tanks?

Does the PWTA specify where the sample is to be taken?
Water samples will have to be collected prior to treatment – raw water.

If there is a water treatment system being used, where is the sample collected?
For the PWTA, the water sample must be collected prior to treatment. There should be a tap or spigot before the water treatment system. Or, the system may need to be disconnected or disabled prior to sample collection.

Can treated samples be collected?
Yes, but this information would be used for the buyer & seller to demonstrate that the water treatment system is working correctly. The NJDEP recommends (but does not require) treated samples be collected and analyzed for those compounds where treatment is in place.

Should I consider testing for additional parameters not specified in the PWTA?
Possibly, especially if there is a special concern about other possible contaminants being present. The PWTA tests for over 30 contaminants, however there are tests that can detect other dangerous chemicals (e.g., pesticides and a "first draw" sample for lead).

If the county or local municipality has an ordinance requiring the testing of private wells for real estate transactions, which set of regulations are required to be complied with?
You should verify that your local ordinance is still required in addition to the PWTA requirements. Otherwise, both sets of regulations will be required.

If I find a contaminant, what should I do?
It is recommended that you conduct a follow-up test to confirm the concentrations. Even if the initial test is low, it is useful to conduct the second test to confirm the results.

I don’t understand what a part per million (mg/L) or part per billion (ug/L) is. Can you clarify this?
Most of the chemical data that is reported for water is expressed as a concentration: a mass of chemical per unit volume of water.

In Very basic conceptual terms:
One-Part-Per-Million can be thought of as – one inch in 16 miles or one cent in $10,000.
One-Part-Per-Billion can be thought of as – one silver dollar in a roll of silver dollars stretching from Detroit to Salt Lake City, or one second of time in 32 years.

It is EXTREMELY MISLEADING to interpret these analogies to minimize the magnitude of the risks. Miniscule amounts of certain substances can contaminate water.

Who should test their water?
Anyone who is concerned about possible contamination of their water should test.

How can I find out if my drinking water has contamination?
The only way to tell s to test for the specific contaminant. Because your health is dependent on quality data, use a laboratory that is NJDEP certified to conduct drinking water analyses using low-level methodology.

What do I need to know afterwards?

How many days does it take to get my results back?
Standard turnaround is 7-10 working days after sample collection. Quicker turnarounds are available but you should arrange for quicker service ahead of time.

What information is in the test report?
The following information, and more: who collected the sample, the analytical methods used, location of the well, the point where the sample was collected, the date and time the sample was collected/analyzed, the well permit number (if known), and results.

Will the test report be hard to understand?
The format for the test report is specified by the NJDEP. The test report is detailed and may have certain terminology or technical terms that may need explaining. Just assemble your list of questions and give us a call.

Is the laboratory required to send the results to anyone besides the person paying the bill?
Yes. The reporting laboratory is required to electronically submit the results to the NJDEP. The NJDEP will forward the results of well test failures to the local health department. Additionally, if the analysis result for nitrate or fecal coliform exceeds the limit, the laboratory shall, within 24 hours of obtaining the results, notify the person paying for the water test as well as the appropriate health authority.

How long are the tests valid?
All results, except the total coliform bacteria analyses, are valid for 1 year from the date of sample collection. The total coliform bacteria is valid for 6 months. If a new well were drilled, a complete re-testing would need to be performed.

What level of confidentiality is required?
The public agencies as well as the laboratory are obligated to keep the specifics of the data confidential.

What information is available to me to learn more?

See our Helpful Links page for resources, phone numbers and links.