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Well Water Test Fairs

A partnership between the New Mexico Health Department's Environmental Public Health Tracking and Private Well Programs and the state Environment Department offers New Mexico households with private water wells the chance to conveniently test the water they drink for a number of common water concerns plus arsenic at no cost.

The process is simple: drop the bottles or containers of water off at the water testing station during a water fair in the county you live in. These free tests are offered on a first-come first-served basis while supplies are available. (The locations and counties change each year fairs are sometimes added mid-season, so check back regularly to see if an event is happening near your home).

2019 Water Fair participation:

Ten events were offered throughout the state in 2019 including communities in Lea, Guadalupe, Socorro, Dona Ana, Rio Arriba, San Juan, Taos, Colfax, Grant, and Sandoval counties. A total of 576 samples analyzed for free. These testing events will resume in spring 2020.

Water fair locations and dates in 2020:

Due to concerns about COVID-19 and to protect the health of participants, spring and summer events were cancelled. Testing events have resumed for the fall and will be provided following COVID-19 safe practices. Please check back for future updates.

  • Greater Santa Fe area, Espanola September 25 and Santa Fe September 26. Details
  • Rio Rancho, Rio Rancho and surrounding communities October 17. CANCELLED Due to concerns about COVID-19 and to protect the health of participants and staff.

Well Owner Workshop locations and dates in 2020:

A chance for well owners to learn about well tagging, water quality and health, treatment, and more!

  • Taos (Taos public library), March 7. Details

Check back regularly for new posts and additional locations.

Benefits of Testing at the Private Well Water Fairs

Although well owners are encouraged to periodically test their drinking water, such tests can be costly, starting at $150. The Departments of Environment and Health offer these opportunities for New Mexico private wells owners at no cost during these events.

This money-saving opportunity is the chance for households to check:
  • pH
  • specific conductance
and the levels of
  • fluoride
  • iron
  • sulfate
  • nitrate
  • arsenic.

What you need to do:

  • Use a clean glass or plastic container that holds at least a quart of water (such as in a 1-liter soda bottle or gallon milk jug). The container should not have a strong odor (avoid pickle jars and vinegar bottles)
  • Collect the water before it runs through any water treatment/filters such as a reverse osmosis system (R.O.) or a water softener. (If the home has a whole house filtration system, collect the water at the well head).
  • Let the water run a couple of minutes before filling the bottle/container.
  • Fill the bottle with the water as close to the time of testing as possible (right before coming to the water testing event).
  • Label the bottle with your name, address, and phone number.
  • Take the sample to a local water fair in your area (see listing above).
  • If you can and have the information, you should include with the water bottle, some basic information about the well such as: well depth, depth to water, well casing material (e.g., steel, pvc), well location latitude/longitude, and distance from well to the nearest septic tank/leach field system. You may use this sample form to keep track of that information and to bring with you to a water fair:

pdf Well Information Form(81.7 KB)

If well owners are unable to attend the event in their community but would like to have their water tested, they may have their sample brought to the water test station by a family member or neighbor if the bottle is clearly labeled with their name, phone number, and address and information about the well is attached.

Learn more: Health and Drinking Water Quality

The constituents we look for in the tests may be naturally occurring or result from sources including fertilizer, animal waste, septic tanks, and refuse dumps. Drinking water with high levels of nitrate can be dangerous to pregnant women and infants, while high levels of other contaminants may lead to aesthetic nuisances and other health problems. Arsenic is naturally occurring and has been measured in water from private wells throughout the state at concentrations that exceed recommended drinking water quality health standards. Not usually included with general tests, well owners will be able to check the arsenic level in their water at these water fairs.
About 20 percent of New Mexicans receive their water from private wells, which are not tested routinely. To support well owners, the Health Department offers information about various well topics on Drinking Water Quality pages.
The water fairs will only test water that comes from homes that rely on private wells for drinking water. Water from households that are connected to city/community/public water system is periodically tested and those results are available at: Data Query and Data Mapping Tool, and Community Drinking Water Data.

Take advantage of other events sponsored by our health promotion partners:

Biomonitoring Assessments
The state health department conducts biomonitoring assessments periodically to look for specific metals, such as arsenic and uranium in drinking water from wells and in urine samples provided by those who drink water from the wells. Scheduling of these biomonitoring assessments depends on available funding and community interest. Call 888-878-8992 to learn more.

Bernalillo County Domestic Well Monitoring Program
Drought and limited water sources are a health concern. If you live in Bernalillo County, join the free Bernalillo County domestic well monitoring program and become aware of the water level in your well. Learn more by calling 505-224-1614.
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Content updated: Wed, 14 Oct 2020 17:01:31 MDT