How safe is your well water? County unveils resources for well owners

Sonoma County, in conjunction with the North Coast Regional Water Quality Board, today unveiled new resources to help private well owners ensure their water is safe to drink despite changes in local water tables as a result of drought.

After two years of drought, water tables are below normal in parts of Sonoma County. As a result, some wells may experience increased concentrations of naturally occurring substances that can be harmful to human health, said county environmental health director Christine Sosko.

“Well owners should test their well water to make sure it is safe to drink,” Sosko said. “Testing for naturally occurring contaminants is highly recommended to ensure the safety of your well water. If the tests detect unhealthy substances, seek the advice of a private water treatment expert on the best way to remedy the problem.

Environmental Health has partnered with the North Coast Regional Water Quality Board, Sonoma County Water Agency, and Permit Sonoma to create a digital resource center with tools to helping well owners in Sonoma County. The website includes information on potential contaminants in well water and their impact on health; maps containing information on groundwater quality in Sonoma County; information on the type and frequency of tests needed to ensure well safety; a list of laboratories certified to analyze groundwater for chemical and bacteriological contaminants; information on water treatment devices; and resources for well owners facing falling groundwater levels.

The resource center can be viewed at

“The Regional Water Board commends the county for making these resources and guidelines available to private well owners in Sonoma County. Testing the quality of private drinking water wells is an essential part of protecting public health,” said Matt St. John, CEO of the North Coast Regional Water Board.

Groundwater is a critical resource in Sonoma County, home to approximately 45,000 water wells, the most per capita of any county in California. Water quality depends on many factors, including aquifer lithology, well construction, location, maintenance, and amount of precipitation.

“Dropping groundwater levels caused by drought conditions can increase naturally occurring mineral levels in shallow groundwater that supplies private domestic wells with drinking water,” said Christopher Watt, senior geological engineer at North Coast Regional. WaterBoard.

“Climate change will continue to strain our water resources, and as we respond and adapt to its challenges, we must actively identify all risks and vulnerabilities in our critical water infrastructure,” said Lynda Hopkins, Sonoma County Fifth District Supervisor.

Despite the atmospheric rivers that brought much-needed rain to Sonoma County in October and December, private well owners should also do all they can to conserve water. Preserving groundwater stored in underground aquifers will help ensure well owners have continued access to water if the region’s two-year drought continues into 2022. Water 2019-2020 On October 1, 2019, Santa Rosa received just 54 inches of rain, 30% less than its historical average, according to the National Weather Service. Historically, it has received 77 inches of rain over the same period.

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