BEND, OR — Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality will offer free well water testing in southern Deschutes County next year. It’s part of an ongoing groundwater quality study. The last time this area was sampled by the DEQ was 2014. Interested property owners can email the DEQ or call 503-693-5736 to be considered for the study.
DEQ will test 60-100 wells in spring and fall 2023 for nitrate, bacteria, arsenic, pesticides and other contaminants and send property owners their individual results. The Oregon Health Authority recommends people test well water regularly to protect their health.
DEQ says South County has porous, volcanic soil and many shallow groundwater aquifers, both of which allow the potential for contamination. Possible sources of groundwater contamination include failing septic systems, current or prior application of fertilizers and pesticides, and leaking underground fuel tanks.
Property owners are responsible for maintaining and monitoring private wells in Oregon—the state does not have water quality regulations for private wells. Well water testing is only required if the property is being sold.
DEQ will provide study participants with information on proper well maintenance, the health effects of common contaminants and options for water treatment. Sample results will be publicly available, but individual landowner information will not be included in the public database.
Southern Deschutes County is the seventh geographic area DEQ has studied as part of its Statewide Groundwater Quality Monitoring Program, which evaluates the current condition of Oregon’s groundwater. DEQ selected the area because existing groundwater data shows elevated nitrate levels in some water samples, shallow and vulnerable aquifers, and a lack of robust data in the basin over time.
Click HERE for more information about participating in the study.