Maine CDC Press Release

April 15, 2004

State Water Test Kits Now Available Online

Contacts: Jack Krueger, Director Newell Augur, Director
  Health and Environmental Testing Lab Legislative and Public Affairs
  Bureau of Health Department of Human Services
  Department of Human Services Tel: (207) 287-1927
  Tel: (207) 287-2727 Pgr: (207) 851-1082
  TTY: (207) 287-4479 Fax: (207) 287-4479

Augusta, ME –The Department of Human Services today announced the start of a new service that allows Maine people to order water test kits over the Internet. Requests for water test kits are now available on the State of Maine website at http://www.maine.gov/watertest/ .

DHS Commissioner John R. Nicholas noted that the Internet order form should increase the number of wells being tested, which will lead to better health in the long run. “Almost half of our population gets its drinking water from private wells, and few of them are routinely tested,” Commissioner Nicholas said. “Water test kits are an important way to insure water quality. Online access will make it easier for more of our citizens to use an important tool that can help them safeguard their health and that of their families.”

Approximately 43% of Maine people rely on private well water for their drinking water, one of the highest percentages in the nation. Like public water supplies, which are tested as often as once a month, private water supplies should also be tested regularly. State health officials suggest that persons with a private well test their water every year for bacteria and nutrients, and every three to five years for contaminants such as arsenic, radon and uranium.

“We’re delighted to provide the public with the ability to order water test kits online,” said Jack Krueger, Chief of Health and Environmental Testing Laboratory, the division of the Bureau of Health that conducts water testing. “Online ordering makes it easier and more convenient to obtain a test, and that means safer drinking water for Maine residents,” Krueger added.

The new service allows web visitors to order test kits online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Payment can be made with a credit card through a secure transaction. Purchased kits are shipped by US Mail and should arrive approximately 7-10 business days after the order is placed. The homepage also provides a list of all certified laboratories in the state, including those that have an online ordering service, so that consumers can choose from a variety of water test kit providers.

The water test kit includes a specific container and identification code for each test requested. The consumer fills each container and returns the samples to the appropriate laboratory. Depending upon the complexity of the test, the full analytical results are usually mailed to the consumer within one to three weeks. State lab chemists are also available to provide assistance regarding the appropriate test, the results and any corrective action that might be necessary.

For more information about water testing, please visit the Health and Environmental Testing Laboratory website at: http://www.maine.gov/dhs/etl/standard.htm