Does the water you drink come from a domestic well?
If so, can you rely on its taste and color to determine its quality and judge if it safe for your health?
The public health department of Abitibi-Témiscamingue recommends that homeowners serviced by a domestic well carry out two specific types of testing.
It is recommended that a complete water analysis be carried out every ten years. Ideally, the first analysis should be done when the well is being built. The reason is simple: because certain carcinogenic substances such as arsenic, and in rare cases, uranium or lead, could be found naturally in the soil in the region and can cause underground contamination.
Once testing is completed, it is not necessary to repeat it on a short-term basis since the presence of physio-chemical contaminants tends to not vary greatly over time.
A financial boost for you!
Homeowners who wish to carry out a complete physio-chemical analysis of their well water have access to financial assistance offered through a program implemented by the organismes de bassin versant (OBV) of the region in collaboration with CISSS de l’Abitibi-Témiscamingue.
To access all information necessary to apply for this financial assistance, consult the OBV de l’Abitibi-Jamésie web site (French only) or the OBV du Témiscamingue (French only) or contact an environmental health specialist at the public health department at 819 764-3264, extension 49421.
A bacteriological analysis twice a year
This type of analysis allows for the detection of bacteria and other microorganisms susceptible of harming your health. Consuming contaminated well water can cause side effects generally related to gastroenteritis, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps. Children, the elderly and those with weak immune systems are more vulnerable.
The public health department recommends that a bacteriological analysis of well water be carried out twice a year. The first time, right after the snow melts in the spring and the next time, in the fall after a heavy rainfall.
What to do in case of a bacteriological contamination?
First of all, it will be necessary to boil water for one minute before drinking it. You will also have to disinfect your well. To learn more about the procedure to follow and for any other information on maintenance and construction of a domestic well, consult the ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques (MDDELCC) web site (French only).
Here you will find a list of approved laboratories to carry out the recommended analysis: la liste des laboratoires accrédités par le MDDELCC (French only).