In 2008, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) Ground Water Section began collecting untreated water samples from ground water wells statewide as part of a Ground Water Monitoring Network (GWMN). A large percentage of Hoosiers drink residential well water that is not regulated by the Safe Drinking Water Act, and this was the impetus for starting the GWMN in Indiana. Since 2008, over 3000 samples have been collected from 240 public water supplies and over 1200 private residential drinking water wells. The 2016 Ground Water Monitoring Report provides a summary of this statewide effort characterizing Indiana’s important natural resource.
In addition to the value of knowing the drinking water quality of Indiana’s ground water resources, Section 305(b) of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Water Act requires IDEM to assess ground water quality. In meeting this requirement, and the GWMN is included in the Indiana Integrated Water Monitoring and Assessment Report. Ground water monitoring is also included in the Indiana Water Quality Monitoring Strategy (fact sheet available on the IDEM Fact Sheets page). The data collected by the GWMN will assist government regulators with source water and watershed protection, and provide ground water quality information to local communities, citizens, research organizations, and industry.
With the GWMN, IDEM seeks to:
- Collect ground water samples from public water supply (PWS) wells and private residential wells within distinct hydrogeologic areas of the state with the overall goal to determine the quality of ground water in the state’s aquifers,
- Identify and expand sampling in areas with notable contamination, and
- Practice continual improvement adjusting the GWMN as necessary to best fit resources (monetary/field support) and data gap needs.
IDEM collected ground water samples from private residential wells across Indiana as part of the GWMN. Testing is conducted free of charge, and copies of the analytical results are provided to the resident at the end of the study season. Residents were randomly selected from a pool of applicants that met the qualifications to participate in the study, which included their location in the state and the ability to obtain a detailed well log for the well.
All wells are sampled for the National Drinking Water Contaminants, which include the following categories: volatile organic compounds, synthetic organic compounds, unregulated pesticide degradates, and inorganic compounds, and included around 200 parameters.
In addition, IDEM also samples for pesticide breakdown products, which are not regulated.
Results, show constituents, such as nitrates [JPG] [PDF] and arsenic [JPG] [PDF],[PDF], present across the state in areas of varying hydrogeological sensitivity. A more detailed review of preliminary findings from the GWMN can be found in the 2016 Ground Water Monitoring Network Report.
2016 Ground Water Monitoring Network Report:
- Statewide Ground Water Monitoring Network: Summary and Results [PDF]
- Appendix A: Ground Water Monitoring Network Standard Operating Procedure [PDF]
- Appendix B: List of Analytes [PDF]
- Appendix C: Piper Plots by Generalized Hydrogeologic Setting [PDF]
- Appendix D: Example Outreach Letter for Maximum Contaminant Level Exceedances [PDF]
- Appendix E: Example Outreach Letter for Non-Maximum Contaminant Level Exceedances [PDF]
- Appendix F: Ground Water Monitoring Network Sample Results [PDF]
Annual Sample Results (Section Centroid Locations Only):
- 2014 Results [XLS]
- 2013 Results [XLS]
- 2012 Results [XLS]
- 2011 Results [XLS]
- 2010 Results [XLS]
- 2009 Results [XLS]
- 2008 Results [XLS]
- Dictionary of Data Fields [XLS]
If you need more site specific data, contact the Office of Water Quality.
- U.S. EPA Drinking Water From Household Wells [PDF]:
- This document provides a great overview of where your well water comes from and how to keep your water supply safe from contamination.
- U.S. EPA Filtration Facts [PDF]:
- This document describes different contaminants and how you can remove from your water if they are detected.
- Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH):
- If you are interested in getting your water tested, you may submit samples at a low cost to ISDH.
- Ohio Watershed Network: Know Your Well Water Tool
- If you have had your well tested, and need assistance in interpreting the results, this tool has some useful information to allow you to understand your water quality.
- Wellowner.org from the National Ground Water Association:
- Comprehensive resource for private well owners to learn about ground water, water quality, and how to properly maintain and service their wells.
- Well-care Info Sheets:
- Complete library of information sheets about well testing and water quality from the Water Systems Council.