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Health Indicator Report of Private Well Usage: Self-Reported as Main Source of Drinking Water

Water is used for many purposes including drinking, cooking, bathing, cleaning, and recreation. Because water use is so common in daily life, there are many opportunities for contaminated water to impact people. New Jersey has over 600 community water systems which provide drinking water to approximately 87% of the State's population. However, about 13 percent of New Jersey residents obtain their drinking water from private wells.

Self-Reported Testing of Private Well Used for Drinking Water Tested for Contaminants within last 2 Years, by County, 2017 & 2020 Combined


Survey question: "Has your well water ever been tested for contaminants in the last 2 years: yes; no; don't know/not sure ?" This question was only asked to individuals who reported that their main water source was a private well. **Data are not shown for Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, or Union Counties due to very low usage of private wells in these counties.

Data Interpretation Issues

Data from the New Jersey Behavioral Risk Factor Survey are intended to represent non-institutionalized adults in households with telephones. Data are collected using a random sample of all possible telephone numbers throughout New Jersey. Prior to analysis, data are weighted to represent the population distribution of adults by age, sex, and "race"/ethnicity. The denominator used for the calculation of these estimates includes all survey respondents except those with missing, don't know, and refused answers. As with all surveys, however, some residual bias may result from non-response (e.g., refusal to participate in the survey or to answer specific questions) and measurement error (e.g., social desirability or recall). Attempts are made to minimize such error by use of a strict calling protocol (up to 15 calls are made to reach each household), good questionnaire design, standardization of interviewer behavior, interviewer training, and frequent, on-site interviewer monitoring and supervision.


Percent of NJ residents self-reporting using and testing a private well as the main water source for their home.


Number of people age 18 years and older self-reporting using and testing a private well as main water source for their home.


Total number of persons aged 18 and older interviewed during the same survey period.

How Are We Doing?

If you are a New Jersey resident who uses their own source of drinking water, like a well, cistern, or spring, you are responsible for protecting and monitoring your water supply. It is essential that you test your water periodically, and maintain your well. There are no federal or state regulations assuring the quality of the water consumed by NJ residents who obtain their drinking water from private wells. The New Jersey Private Well Testing Act (PWTA) assures that the purchasers and lessees of properties served by private potable wells are aware of the quality of their drinking water source prior to the sale or lease of a home or business. Sampling and testing must be conducted by certified laboratories.

Available Services

If your drinking water comes from a private well, you are responsible for testing. The NJDEP recommends that you use a laboratory that is NJDEP-certified. You can call the NJDEP Office of Quality Assurance at (609) 292-3950 for information on laboratories certified to test drinking water or look for the information online at: [] using the "Search by Category" option, select "Certified Laboratories", and search for "Certified Drinking Water Labs", "PWTA Laboratories Certified for Sampling", or "Laboratories Certified by Parameter". Testing is required for sale of residential real estate when a private well is the source of drinking water. For more information, contact the NJDEP Private Well Testing Program at (866) 479-8378 or visit: [] Private Well Testing Act Frequently Asked Questions: [] NJ Private Well Testing Act Data Summary, by county, municipality, and 2 mile by 2 mile grid: [] NJDOH Drinking Water Facts: Private Wells, [ ] NJDOH Drinking Water and Public Health Project, []
Page Content Updated On 07/18/2022, Published on 07/18/2022
The information provided above is from the Department of Health's NJSHAD web site ( The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: " Retrieved Thu, 23 May 2024 2:32:06 from Department of Health, New Jersey State Health Assessment Data Web site: ".

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