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Private Well Testing Act (PWTA)

The Act
The PWTA was enacted on March 23, 2001. Effective September 16, 2002, the Department adopted the Private Well Testing Act Rules, N.J.A.C. 7:9E, and amended the Regulations Governing the Certification of Laboratories and Environmental Measurements, N.J.A.C. 7:18, to implement the requirements of the PWTA. Under the PWTA, certain wells must be tested as a condition of each contract for sale of real property. As of March 15, 2004, testing requirements for landlords who rent a property with drinking water supplied by a private well became effective under the statute.

PWTA samples are to be collected by an employee or authorized representative of a laboratory certified for sampling. The use of authorized representatives by a certified laboratory for sample collection is permitted under N.J.A.C. 7:18, as long as the establishment collecting a sample is considered an authorized representative of the laboratory certified for sampling. Therefore, the establishment collecting the sample does not need to be contained on the list of laboratories certified for sampling. For your convenience a list of laboratories that are certified to collect samples for the PWTA can be accessed in real-time from DEP's Data Miner website.

Under the requirements of N.J.A.C. 7:18, certified laboratories are required to follow Department approved protocols for the analysis of PWTA samples. Analysis for all parameters, including pH, must be conducted by an employee of a laboratory certified for that parameter. Since many laboratories are not certified to sample and test all PWTA parameters, they must subcontract some test work to other laboratories. Although several laboratories may be involved in testing your well water, you need only contact one. If necessary, they will enlist the services of other laboratories that are certified to collect and/or perform the tests they cannot conduct. Certified laboratories are not located in every county. You may choose any certified lab regardless of location, either in New Jersey or outside the state. The list of laboratories certified to conduct testing required by the PWTA can be accessed in real-time from DEP's Data Miner website.

Gross Alpha Testing
In some instances the PWTA requires the testing of a well sample using the 48-hour Rapid Gross Alpha test. Laboratories eligible to conduct this testing are listed as certified for this specific test. This current list of laboratories can be accessed in real-time from DEP's Data Miner website.

When all of the tests have been completed, your selected laboratory will compile the overall results and send them to you on the New Jersey Private Well Water Test Reporting Form (an electronic version of this form is also sent to the NJDEP). Whenever a well test exceeds the drinking water standards, a notice is sent by the NJDEP to the county CEHA health department.

Additional Information
For further information on the Private Well Testing Act rules, please contact the Department’s Bureau of Safe Drinking Water at 609-292-5550, or visit the Department's PWTA website.

If you have any questions about the certification status of any laboratory on these lists, please call the Office of Quality Assurance at (609) 292-3950.


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Last Updated: October 9, 2019