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Water Testing

Everyday more people are becoming concerned about the safety of their drinking water. Whether a private well or municipality supplies the water, their concerns are real. A study conducted by Cornell University found that 63% of rural household water supplies serving more than 13 million households are considered unsafe under the standards established by the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act. The General Accounting Office of the U.S. Government reports that about 20% of the nations 65,000 community water systems do not meet these same standards. As reported in the New Jersey Bergen Record, environmental officials indicated that nearly a third of the private wells tested under a new state law are contaminated with pollution linked to cancer, breathing problems, and other serious illnesses.

If the property you are buying is serviced by a public water supply, H&J Freile recommends that you consider performing a water analysis for commonly occurring contaminants in public water. H&J Freile offers an informational water analysis package called Watertest. Watertest checks 33 parameters in the water specifically contaminants commonly found in public water.

If a private well provides potable water to the property you are buying, the New Jersey Private Well Testing Act requires that the well be tested prior to closing. The water sample must be taken and tested by a laboratory certified by the NJDEP. H&J Freile is certified by the state to take the water sample and test on-site parameters. The remaining tests are performed by our strategic lab partner, also certified by the state. The water must be tested for: total coliform bacteria, iron, manganese, pH, all volatile organic compounds (VOCs) with established Maximum Contaminant Levels, nitrate, and lead. If total coliform bacteria are detected, a test must also be conducted for fecal coliform or E. coli. Certain counties require testing for mercury, arsenic, and gross alpha.

The recent New Jersey law takes a major step in helping to protect you and your family’s health and financial investment, but there are some additional things to consider. The PWTA requires that the water sample be taken before any water filtration or conditioning system and many potential contaminants are still not tested. H&J Freile recommends that you consider performing a water analysis for as broad a range of contaminants as possible and to perform a post filter test to verify operation of the filter. Why wouldn’t you want to know what is in you’re drinking water? H&J Freile offers an economical informational water analysis called Watercheck. Watercheck will test the water for 90 parameters, many of which are harmful contaminants such as, PCB’s, pesticides, herbicides, organics and volatile organics, inorganics, and metals including lead and copper.

Watercheck is an informational test, not a regulatory test. Watercheck is much more economical than a regulatory test because it is not subject to the same reporting and testing requirements. This makes it an economical and smart choice for homeowners that desire to test their well on a annual basis. Watercheck tests for all of the contaminants required by the New Jersey PWTA, except gross alpha were required.

Whether private well or public authority supplies your water, H&J Freile can arrange for testing of any specific contaminant that can be found in water. The most requested water test that we offer is for the presence of lead, which is commonly introduced by the plumbing in the house, such as, brass fixtures or lead solder used at pipe joints.

Some municipalities and lending institutions require additional specific water tests to be performed prior to the sale of a home with a private well. Check with your lending company and local municipality for specific requirements. Below is a partial listing of special water testing requirements for several lending institutions and municipalities. The list is provided for your convenience but is subject to change and should be verified by you with the appropriate authority prior to ordering the water test:

FHA/VA mortgages: NJ PWTA; suggested additional test for Lead (first draw).  For more complete information on testing of individual wells from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development see Mortgagee Letter 95-34 – a pdf version of the letter is available by clicking here.


Chester Borough:
NJ PWTA plus Corrosivity, Hardness and Lead (1st draw). The following additional (optional) post-treatmenttests are also suggested: Arsenic, Copper, Iron, Manganese and Surfacants.

Lebanon Boro: Accepts NJ PWTA report. A special form must be obtained from the Boro and be completed by a NJ DEP certified laboratory.

Mendham Township: NJ PWTA plus Fluoride, Hardness*, Corrosivity* and Lead* (1st draw).  If water treatment equipment is present, water sampled post-treatment (at a point of consumption tap) must be tested for Total coliform** and pH**.

* Must be tested in water sampled post-treatment
** Must also be sampled pre-treatment to meet NJ PWTA requirements

Washington Township, Morris County: NJ PWTA plus copper.  If water treatment / purification devices are in place, an additional test for total coliform bacteria, plus any other primary drinking water parameter(s) treated for by the system, must be performed at a primary cold water non-aerated tap with the treatment device functioning. Contact health department for information packet, (908) 876-3650