How to Interpret Results

Interpreting Your Drinking Water Test Results

After submitting your well water samples for testing with ARA, you will receive a detailed drinking water analysis report for the parameters you requested (usually within 10 to 14 business days).

Your well water lab report will identify your results and the regulatory limit, or maximum contaminant level (MCL), for each contaminant requested.

Your results may show that a substance was detected in your water sample – this does not necessarily mean that you have a problem with your water.

Some substances are not harmful, while others have acceptable “limits” as determined by the EPA and/or your state environmental services department.

When looking at your lab report, compare the “result” column to the “regulatory limit” column (also known as the MCL) to see if levels found in your drinking water analysis report are above what is considered acceptable by state and/or federal standards.

If any of your drinking water analysis results are above the MCL, the next step would be to contact a company that specializes in water remediation in your area. This could be a company that deals with “well & pump” “water filtration systems” or “water purification.”

A reputable water remediation company can explain what technologies are available for your particular issue, as water filtrations systems vary depending on the contaminant(s) you are looking to remove.

Helpful Resources:

•  “How to Interpret Your Environmental Lab Report” is a blog post providing deeper dive on understanding your lab results, column by column.

•    NHDES “Be Well Informed” Guide has information about well water testing, how to interpret your well water results, and guidance for water filtration systems.

•    Understanding Your Well Water Test Results from the Maine CDC is a video produced for Maine residents, but the content is applicable to most and is very helpful.

•    Your state’s water quality division can provide more information on your local drinking water quality, testing recommendations, and other resources.