The Health District goal in the Private Water System (PWS) program is to ensure that residents utilizing a private water system with have safe (potable) drinking water. The Board of Health is responsible to enforce the Ohio Administrative Code Chapter 3701-28 that governs the construction, inspection, installation, development, maintenance and sealing (abandonment) of private water systems. Private water systems service homes and certain non-residential supplies and can consist of a well, cistern, spring, pond or hauled water tanks or a combination of such supplies. Water supplies require routine maintenance and should be sampled at least once a year and analyzed for total coliform bacteria.
Access the Ohio Private Water System Rules:
Instructions for Private Water System Application & Permitting
Private Water System Permit forms
Registered Ohio Private Water System Contractors
Information on Bacteriological Water Analysis
Total coliform bacteria are “indicator” organisms whose presence at certain levels indicates the potential presence of disease causing organisms. Total coliform bacteria are not normally harmful by themselves to healthy individuals. Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria are found in the intestines of humans and animals therefore the presence of E. coli indicates fecal contamination of the water. Water with fecal contamination should not be consumed until the water supply has been properly disinfected and a resample result is zero for E. coli. The presence or absence of total coliform or E. coli does not indicate the chemical quality of the water. The Maximum Contaminant Level (standard) for a PWS without continuous disinfection is 4 or less total coliform and zero E. coli organisms per 100 ml. of water. The Maximum Contaminant Level (standard) for a PWS that requires continuous disinfection and/or filtration is zero total coliform and zero E. coli organisms per 100 ml. of water.
Private Water System Water Sample Request Form
Ground Water Resources in Lake County
The amount of water that a well can produce depends on the local geology of the area, the amount of recharge to the aquifer, the design of the well and to a lesser extent the proximity of neighboring wells. According to the National Water Well Association a low yield well is one that cannot maintain a discharge rate of five gallons per minute (GPM) for extended periods of time. Lake County is a poor county for ground water production. Much of the county is underlain with shale bedrock. A shale bedrock aquifer is very dense and generally produces small quantities of water. This water is typically highly mineralized, containing significant concentrations of calcium, magnesium, manganese, iron and often times sulfates. Water treatment devices are usually necessary to remove these minerals.
These devices usually require water for maintenance of the equipment. The quantity of water required depends on the type of equipment, the severity of the water problem and the quantity of water used daily. A conventional water softener requires 100 to 300 gallons of water during regeneration. It is very important to include the amount of water needed for water treatment maintenance when considering water storage needs. It is important to note that a water well usually produces less water over time and use. When designing storage capacity it is important to consider the yield of the well over time.
The following links provide general information on the common water quality problems in well water and maintenance:
Information on Water Quality Basics
Where to find the well log for your well
Hydrogen Sulfide (rotten egg odor in a water)
Nitrates/Nitrites in well water
For Information Concerning Oil & Gas Well Drilling (can it affect a water well)
Ohio Department of Health Gas Well Drilling Information
Ohio Department of Health Private Water System Resources
Well Sampling Before Drilling for Oil & Gas Fact Sheet
Ground Water Awareness Week March 10-16, 2013
Clean water is one of the world's most precious
resources. People use water every day for a variety of reasons,
such as drinking, bathing, recreation, agriculture, cooling, and
industry. Although water plays an essential role in every person's
life, many individuals are not aware that much of their water comes
from the ground.
National Ground Water Awareness Week, an
annual observance sponsored by the National Ground Water
Association (NGWA), is March 10-16, 2013. The purpose of this
observance is to stress how important ground water is to the health
of all people and the environment1.
Ground Water Contamination
Ground water is water that is located below the
surface of the earth in spaces between rock and soil. Ground water
supplies water to wells and springs and is a substantial source of
water used in the United States. Thirty percent of all available
freshwater comes from ground water2, which supplies a
significant amount of water to community water systems and private
Protecting ground water sources from contamination is an
important priority for countries throughout the world, including
the United States. Most of the time, ground water sources in the
United States are safe to use and not a cause for worry. However,
ground water sources can become contaminated with bacteria,
viruses, parasites, and chemicals that can lead to sickness and
Ground water contaminants sometimes occur naturally in the
environment (for example, arsenic and radon), but are more often
the result of human activities. These activities include incorrect
use of fertilizers and pesticides; poorly sited, constructed or
maintained septic systems; improper disposal or storage of wastes;
and chemical spills at industrial sites4,5. From 1971 to
2006, 54% of reported drinking water outbreaks were due to the use
of untreated ground water (31%) or ground water treatment
deficiencies (23%). The most common pathogens identified in ground
water outbreaks during this period included Shigella spp.,
hepatitis A virus, norovirus, Giardiaintestinalis,
Campylobacter spp, and Salmonella
The presence of pathogens and chemicals in our
drinking water can lead to health problems, including
gastrointestinal illness, reproductive problems, and neurological
disorders7. Infants, young children, pregnant women, the
elderly, and people whose immune systems are compromised because of
AIDS, chemotherapy, or transplant medications may be especially
susceptible to illness from certain contaminants. Concerns for
ground water contaminants have led the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) and individual states to develop new
regulations to protect ground water in public water systems (the Ground Water Rule).
Is your household in either of these categories?
Are you among the almost 90 million Americans who get their tap
water from a community water system that uses ground water?
Seventy-seven percent of community water systems in
the United States use ground water as their primary source,
supplying drinking water to 30% of community water system users, or
almost 90 million Americans8. The U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) sets maximum concentration levels for many
water pollutants and regulates drinking water quality in public
water systems, including community water systems. You can find out
more about your local drinking water quality and possible
contaminants by viewing your consumer confidence report (CCR), which every
utility company is required to provide to its customers.
Are you among the 15 million American households who have their
own private wells?
An estimated 15
million American households get their water from private ground
water wells, which are not subject to EPA regulations9.
Private ground water wells can provide safe, clean water. However,
well water may be or become contaminated, leading to illness. It is
the responsibility of the well owner to maintain their well and
have the water tested on the recommended annual basis in order to
ensure their water is safe from harmful contaminants10.
State and local health departments have resources available to help
homeowners protect groundwater.
- National Ground Water Association. National Ground Water Awareness Week: March
- USGS. Earth's Water Distribution. Updated March
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Public Drinking Water Systems: Facts and
Figures. Updated April 2012.
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Drinking Water from Household Wells [PDF -
- Brunkard J, Ailes E, Roberts V, Hill V, Hilborn E, Craun G,
Rajasingham A, Kahler A, Garrison L, Hicks L, Carpenter J, Wade T,
Beach M, Yoder J. Surveillance for waterborne disease outbreaks
associated with drinking water---United States, 2007--2008.
MMWR Surveill Summ. 2011 Sep 23;60(12):38-68.
- Craun GF, Brunkard JM, Yoder JS, Roberts VA, Carpenter J, Wade
T, Calderon RL, Roberts JM, Beach MJ, Roy SL, Causes of outbreaks associated with drinking water
in the United States from 1971 to 2006. Clin Microbiol Rev
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Drinking Water Contaminants: List of Contaminants
and Their Maximum Contaminant Level (MCLs). Updated June
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Fiscal Year 2010 Drinking Water and Ground Water
Statistics [PDF - 115KB], Updated in 2012.
- US Census Bureau. Current Housing Reports, Series H150/09, American
Housing Survey for the United States: 2009 [PDF - 2.56MB], U.S.
Government Printing Office, Washington, DC: 20401. Printed in 2011
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Private Drinking Water Wells: What You Can Do.
Updated March 2012.