Private Wells

Private wells are typically located on your property and provide water to your home only. In some cases, there are shared wells that can serve several homes in a close area.

If you are on a private well system, you will typically have an exterior well with piping running to your house. Generally, there is a holding tank in your home or garage that is attached to this piping. Private wells are generally found in more rural areas where installation of public water systems is too expensive.

Private wells are typically tested only during original installation or in some cases, during a resale. There are no ongoing regulations regarding testing for quality or safety on private wells.

It is up to you to test your water!

Municipal Or Public Supply Systems

Public water systems serve large groups of people, up to millions in certain metropolitan areas. Public systems are either run by local municipalities or independent companies.

These systems are generally a single pipe entering your home with a meter on it to calculate the amount of water you use. If you are being billed for your water, you are most likely on a public system.

Public water suppliers are regulated by federal, state, and sometimes local authorities for quality and are required to provide testing results on an annual basis. It is important for you to obtain these reports, which the companies are legally required to have available to consumers.

To identify your public water system (in New Jersey), please visit the NJ Source Water Assessment Program.

Which Type Is More Likely To Need Testing For Contaminants?

In either case, all water comes from either ground water sources (via wells) or surface water sources (such as rivers, lakes and streams).

According to the EPA, most water systems use a groundwater source (80%), but most people (66%) are served by a surface water system. This is because large metropolitan areas tend to rely on surface water, whereas small and rural areas tend to rely on groundwater.

In short, whether you have a public water system or a private well, you need to take steps to make sure that your drinking water is not contaminated.