Provincial Well Water Testing Subsidy Program
Approximately 15% of Manitobans rely on private water supplies as their source of drinking water. The vast majority of private water systems are comprised of wells and cisterns. A small percentage of the private systems rely on surface waters (eg. lakes, dugouts or reservoirs) as the water source and apply treatment processes to make the water suitable for consumptive purposes.
Regardless of the type of private water system, routine testing for the presence of bacteriological contaminants is recommended. For wells or cisterns, the minimum recommended sample frequency is once per year. Preferably, the sample should be taken when the system is most vulnerable to contamination, eg. during spring melt or following a period of heavy rainfall. Additional testing should be conducted if the well or cistern has been affected by flooding or if there is a noticeable change in the water's taste, colour, odour or clarity.
Private surface water systems should not be used for drinking unless you are absolutely certain the water has been properly filtered, disinfected and ongoing water testing has demonstrated that the water is safe to drink. If you are consuming treated surface water, as a minimum, a water test should be conducted every change of season and following any maintenance completed on the treatment system.