Well Water

Maine lake

Water Conservation and Safety Tips from UMaine Extension 

Every Maine county experienced some level of drought in 2020 with September reported as the driest on record.1 Because the autumn rains many have received may not benefit thirsty gardens and wells until later in the year,  water conservation makes good economic and ecological sense year-round.

Conserving Water at Home from University of Maine Cooperative Extension provides guidance on conserving water to save money, respond to resource fluctuations, reduce the risk of damage to septic systems, and protect the quality of drinking water, lakes, ponds, and streams.

UMaine Extension bulletins may be ordered or downloaded from the publications catalog, or by calling 207.581.3792; email extension.orders@maine.edu.

1 National Weather Service Drought Information, Oct. 8, 2020.

Well Water Safety

Through our involvement with the New England Regional Water Quality Program, we have partnered with the Maine Center for Disease Control and the US EPA Region 1 to help homeowners who are responsible for their own drinking water supply.

In Maine, about half of our residents get their water from a private source. These homeowners are responsible for having their water tested to make sure it is safe. How often you should test depends on what you’re testing for — for example, well water should be tested for bacteria and nitrates every year, while well water should be tested for arsenic, radon, and uranium every three to five years.

For well water information, including a complete listing of what to test for, please visit Maine.gov’s Private Well Water Safety and Testing. To find a lab to test your drinking water, visit Maine Health and Environmental Testing Laboratory’s Order Water Testing Kits website (we do not provide this service).

Additional Resources

University of Maine Cooperative Extension Publications:

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): WaterSense

Maine CDC Publication: Is your Well Water Safe to Drink?

Maine Emergency Management Agency: Sensible Water Use

Maine Geological Survey: Drought in Maine

Maine Public Health video: How to Test Your Well Water

Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS): Water

“Smart Water Use on Your Farm or Ranch” (PDF) from USDA SARE

If you have questions about well water, please contact UMaine Extension Water Quality Specialist John Jemison at jemison@maine.edu.