During a property sale, mortgage lenders may require domestic wells to have a water quality test to confirm that the water meets drinking water quality guidelines and a yield test to confirm that the well can produce enough water to meet domestic needs. In addition, some local governments require wells to be tested as part of their building code and permitting process.
Free or discounted water sampling and analysis is provided to domestic well owners in some jurisdictions. For example, this service is offered in Alberta, Manitoba, and Ontario, Canada. In these jurisdictions, the program includes bacteria analysis only, and the well owner is responsible for collecting the water sample and delivery to the laboratory. Counties in Iowa, USA provide a more comprehensive service, which includes free or discounted sample collection, water analysis (may include bacteria, nitrate, arsenic), as well as assistance to interpret the results and choose a mitigation option. Although the Iowa program processes up to 7,000 water samples each year, the service is under-utilized. This suggests that reducing cost and inconvenience barriers to water quality testing is not enough to encourage widespread testing, and that more outreach and education is also needed to convince well owners of the importance of testing (APHL, 2019).
Financial assistance programs have also been used to help domestic well owners with other problems besides water quality testing. The Well Compensation Program in Wisconsin, USA provides grants to well owners of contaminated wells, including those with high levels of arsenic. The program helps pay for a new well, reconstruction of an existing well, connecting to another water supply, or installing a treatment system (Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, 2005). In Nova Scotia, Canada, low interest loans are provided by some local governments to assist domestic well owners to install deeper wells that are more resilient to seasonal droughts than shallow wells (Province of Nova Scotia, 2016).