There is no such thing as naturally pure water. In nature, all water contains some impurities. As water flows in streams, sits in lakes, and filters through layers of soil and rock in the ground, it dissolves or absorbs the substances that it touches.
Some of these substances are harmless. In fact, some people prefer mineral water precisely because minerals give it an appealing taste. However, at certain levels, minerals, just like man-made chemicals, are considered contaminants that can make water unpalatable or even unsafe.
Contaminants in Water
Some contaminants come from the erosion of natural rock formations. Other contaminants are substances discharged from factories, applied to farmlands, or used by consumers in their homes and yards. Sources of contaminants might be in your neighborhood or might be many miles away.
Your local water quality report tells which contaminants are in your drinking water, the levels at which they were found, and the actual or likely source of each contaminant. Some groundwater systems have established wellhead protection programs to prevent substances from contaminating their wells.
Protecting Water Sources
Similarly, some surface water systems protect the watershed around their reservoir to prevent contamination. Right now, states and water suppliers are working systematically to assess every source of drinking water and to identify potential sources of contaminants. This process will help communities to protect their drinking water supplies from contamination, and a summary of the results will be in future water quality reports.
Urban Drinking Water
A clean, constant supply of drinking water is essential to every community. People in large cities frequently drink water that comes from surface water sources, such as lakes, rivers, and reservoirs. Sometimes these sources are close to the community.
Other times, drinking water suppliers get their water from sources many miles away. In either case, when you think about where your drinking water comes from, it's important to consider not just the part of the river or lake that you can see, but the entire watershed. The watershed is the land area over which water flows into the river, lake, or reservoir.
Rural Drinking Water
In rural areas, people are more likely to drink groundwater that was pumped from a well. These wells tap into aquifers—the natural reservoirs under the earth's surface—that may be only a few miles wide, or may span the borders of many states.
- Where can I get my water tested?
Jasper County Hospital, LaPorte County Health Department, Microbac Labs, and Utility Service Corp are local laboratories available to do water testing. Please see Indiana State Department of Health's Certified Water Labs for phone numbers and addresses.
In addition, the Indiana State Department of Health can also do water sampling. Please see their website for forms, kits, prices, and ordering information.
- Can Porter County Health Department test my water?
No. PCHD does not have a certified water lab. All water samples must be taken to one of the certified water labs. Indiana's Certified Water Labs
- Can I have my water tested for free?
No. All water sampling is fee based by the company doing the testing.
- What should I have my water tested for?
There are a huge variety of tests available for drinking water. At a minimum, most residential water wells are tested for e.coli, total coliform, nitrate / nitrite, and lead.
- I am building, buying or selling a home. Am I required to have my water tested?
No. Porter County Health Department does not require any water testing for new construction, existing or change of ownership homes. However, we do recommend testing, but it would be at the owner's expense. Some mortgage companies do require water testing. Please contact your mortgage lender to determine exactly what type of water testing they might require.
- My water smells really bad. Should I have it tested?
Due to the mineral content surrounding aquifers, it is very difficult to determine what causes water odors. Testing for e.coli and total coliform would be recommended to ensure the absence of fecal bacteria within the water supply. However, this may not stop or determine the cause of the odor.
- Should I chlorinate my well?
The Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) provides details concerning when and how to properly chlorinate a well. Directions and information for well chlorination.
- I live in a town or city. Should I get my water tested?
Most homes or businesses located within town or city limits are connected to a drinking water utility. This type of water system falls under the jurisdiction of the Indiana Department of Environmental Management and is regularly sampled. Complaints concerning water derived from water utilities should be directed to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management Drinking Water Branch. IDEM Drinking Water Branch
- Do I need a permit to drill a well?
Yes. They are $25 and the steps for obtaining one are located on our well and septic permits page.
- I live in town and pay a water bill. Can I drill a well?
No. Because of cross-contamination, you cannot have two sources of water in one facility or home. If you are in an area with a water utility or conservancy, then you must remain connected to their service. However, if you are interested in drilling a free-standing well to be used for watering a garden or irrigating a lawn, then a well permit could be issued. Well & Septic Permits
- How can I find my water well location?
The Indiana Department of Natural Resources maintains a water well location record database. Water Well Location Record Database
- I live in the Town of Pines. Can you answer questions about my water?
The best and most current place to get information about water issues in the Town of Pines would be the US Environmental Protection Agency. US Environmental Protection Agency