The water is analyzed for the various contaminants listed in the Act and regulations, using specific test methods. A complete list of the PWTA parameters, with their corresponding Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) or recommended upper limits are presented in Appendix B. Appendix C contains a list of the Private Well Testing Act required parameters by county. The test methods have been established and certified by the USEPA, and have been approved by NJDEP's Office of Quality Assurance. As part of the test requirements, the sampler must record the lot and block of the property, as well as the X and Y coordinate locations of the well (or at a minimum the front door) using a Global Positioning System (GPS) unit in accordance with N.J.A.C. 7:1D et seq. The person who requested the private well water test should receive their results from the laboratory on the New Jersey Private Well Water Test Reporting Form.
Primary contaminants sampled as part of the PWTA include bacteria (total coliform and fecal coliform bacteria and/or E. coli), nitrates, lead, and all 26 volatile organic contaminants for which MCLs have been established. In certain counties, testing must include a test for the presence of gross alpha particle activity, mercury and/or arsenic. See Appendix C for a complete list of the required parameters by county.
Secondary parameters are regulated by the state for aesthetic or other concerns (e.g., taste, odor, staining, scaling of home fixtures). The secondary parameters that are regulated under the Act are iron, manganese and pH. Many secondary parameters are naturally occurring in ground water due to geologic conditions. Some common examples of the effects of secondary contaminants include: brownish drinking water, staining of plumbing fixtures such as sinks, bathtubs, and toilet bowls, staining of clothing, an unpleasant taste in the water, or damage to a home heating unit.
There are special considerations for arsenic and lead with regards to the data in this report. Neither the USEPA nor the NJDEP have an MCL for lead. An Action Level of 15 µg/L has been established for lead (i.e., if the “90th percentile” lead concentration is greater than 15 µg/L). However, the Action Level for lead is not being used in the PWTA Program. This is because the federal drinking water regulations state that the 15 µg/L Action Level should be applied to a series of samples taken from consumers’ taps and the tap samples must stand motionless in the plumbing system for at least six hours prior to sample collection. Since a raw (untreated) groundwater sample is required by the PWTA, the more stringent NJDEP Ground Water Quality standard of 5 µg/L was used as the exceedance threshold because the PWTA sample is a groundwater sample. The report also utilizes the New Jersey established an MCL for arsenic of 5 µg/l which is lower than the federal MCL of 10 µg/l.
How does the data get submitted to the NJDEP?
The PWTA regulations require that the laboratories electronically submit test results including additional pertinent information as one complete analytical package to NJDEP within five business days after completion of the analyses. The laboratory does this by creating a data file that contains the test results and other pertinent location information