Well water should be tested annually to reduce health risks to children

Private well water should be tested yearly, and in some cases more often, according to new guidance offered by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

The recommendations call for annual well testing, especially for nitrate and microorganisms such as coliform bacteria, which can indicate that sewage has contaminated the well. The recommendations point out circumstances when additional testing should occur, including testing when there is a new infant in the house or if the well is subjected to structural damage.

Walter J. Rogan, M.D., an epidemiologist at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and lead author on the policy statement and technical report that appears in the June issue of Pediatrics, said,

"Children are especially vulnerable to waterborne illnesses that may come from contaminated wells."

Reference(s): Rogan WJ, Brady MT, the Committee on Environmental Health and the Committee on Infectious Diseases. June, 2009. Technical Report. "Drinking Water from Private Wells and Risks to Children." Pediatrics,123:6. DOI: 10.1542/peds2009-0751.

Committee on Environmental Health and Committee on Infectious Diseases. Policy Statement. "Drinking Water from Private Wells and Risks to Children." Pediatrics,123:6. DOI: 10.1542/peds2009-0751.