Private Water Systems

Wells, Springs, and Cisterns

Pennsylvania does not regulate private water systems. It is the responsibility of the private water system owner to ensure that their water is safe to drink. There are many problems that can be associated with private water systems. Some are health issues (primary standards) and others are aesthetic (secondary standards) . Some common health issues include coliform bacteria, E.coli bacteria, lead, copper, arsenic, and nitrates. A few aesthetic issues include hardness, pH, corrosivity, total dissolved solids, and mineral taste. There are many methods of dealing with water issues but the first step is always testing the water to determine what problems exist.

A number of organizations in Pennsylvania have developed best management practices (BMP) for dealing with water problems. Penn State University through the Penn State Extension Service, Master Well Owners Network (MWON) program has a vast amount of information to help private water system owners better understand the problems and solutions to private drinking water issues.

In this section we will provide some links to agencies and organizations dealing with private drinking water issues.


Master Well Owners Network (MWON)

Drinking and Residential Water (Penn State Extension)

Private Water Wells (DEP)

Protect Your Home's Water (EPA)

Home Water Testing (EPA)

Drinking Water (DEP)

Private Drinking Water Wells (EPA)

Ground Water and the Rural Homeowner (USGS)

Running Clear: Preventing Private Water Sources from Becoming a Health Hazard in Rural America

Carbon filters for home use. (EWG)

Environmental Working Group (EWG) Water

Methane Gas and Water Wells (DEP)

Accredited Labs Report (DEP 2016)

Agricultural Analytical Services Lab (Penn State)

Primary Drinking Water Standards (EPA)

National Primary Drinking Water Standards (EPA)

Secondary Drinking Water Standards (EPA)

Finding an accredited water testing lab in PA