Private Water (Well) Systems


March 6-12, 2016

“Groundwater awareness is important to you!”
Groundwater is essential to the health and well-being of humanity and the environment. Whether you’re on a public water system or a private well, whether you are a health care official, policymaker, regulator, an environmentalist or a groundwater professional, you can get involved in protecting this vital resource. Click on the links below for more info…..

The groundwater here in Williams County is a “sole source aquifer”.  The U.S. E.P.A. designated the Michindoh aquifer as the sole source of drinking water for an area comprising 8 counties including parts of Allen, DeKalb, and Steuben counties in Indiana, Hillsdale and Lenawee counties in Michigan, and Defiance and Fulton counties and all of Williams County in Ohio.  This aquifer is the source of drinking water for thousands of people in rural areas and for many cities and villages in this region as well.  It’s very important that it be protected from contamination!  Cleanup efforts can be daunting and costly.  That’s why well drillers are licensed and inspected and must adhere to certain well installation standards.

Do you want to have your water sampled? You can come into our Montpelier office to pick up a sterile bottle and instructions or call 419-485-3141 to have a Sanitarian collect the sample.

Do you need to replace your old well and/or are you installing a new well? Contact the Environmental Public Health Division at 419-485-3141 to obtain a permit application.  A Sanitarian will visit the property before the permit is approved to assure that:

  • the new well is not located in a flood plain
  • if the well is a replacement well, that the replacement well meets state requirements if the flood plain cannot be avoided
  • the new well meets separation distances from the wastewater (septic) treatment system, the old well, roadways, property lines, buildings, etc
  • require that the old well be properly abandoned (sealed to prevent contamination from reaching the aquifer)

Once the well is drilled, a Sanitarian will:

  • obtain a well log from the well driller.  The well log provides information about the depth of the well, how many gallons per minute it produces, the amount of grout used to protect the well from surface water and other sources of surface contamination
  • sample the water for total coliform bacteria to assure it is safe to drink
  • check the water for nitrates and nitrites to assure it is safe for infants to drink
  • inspect the well installation to verify it meets State code requirements
  • maintain a permanent record concerning the well


My well water tastes, smells, or looks different.  Should I be concerned?
Well water can change as the well ages, changes in the aquifer, groundwater level, contamination within the well, etc.  The first step to check the safety of your well water is to have a sample of your water checked for bacteria.  You can contact the Environmental Public Health Division and pick up a sterile water sample bottle and the instructions to do-it-yourself at a reduced cost of $30; or a Sanitarian can collect the sample for you at a cost of $65.  The water sample is taken to a laboratory for analysis and you will receive a copy of the results along with information explaining the results.  There are many other water tests that are offered such as nitrates, nitrites, lead, petroleum, and fluoride just to name a few.Most taste, odor, or appearance of well water is aesthetic in nature and is not harmful to health.  Appearance issues – You may see deposits on your fixtures.  This is the mineral content of the water such as from Manganese – you’ll see black deposits, or Iron – you’ll see rust-orange staining.  Cloudy water – may be caused by changes in the groundwater level.  Odor issues – You may smell a “rotten egg” odor – this is from Sulfates in the water.  Taste issues – Taste can be affected by off odors of the well water and dissolved mineral content of the water.

Ohio Department of Health Private Water Systems