Drinking Water Well Testing

to coincide with Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality “Know Your Well Day

Protect Our Water Jackson Hole (POWJH) received a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Environmental Education grant, with a supporting matching grant from the Community Foundation of Jackson Hole, to work with Jackson Hole High School science teachers and students on a water quality awareness curriculum.

As part of the program, the Advanced Placement (AP) Environmental Science students will volunteer their time to host drinking water well testing events. Free well test kits will be provided, and students will instruct community members how to complete the test. Any Teton County, WY private well owner can participate.

All Teton County residents using water from a private drinking water well are responsible for its testing, operation, and maintenance to ensure the water is safe to drink. Spring is the best time to test well water because snowmelt and rain increase the likelihood of disturbing contaminants. (The Town of Jackson performs regular water quality testing to ensure a safe water supply. Town residents can read the 2023 Annual Water Quality Report at: jacksonwy.gov/174/Water-Division)

What is included in the free test kits?

This POWJH well test program will look at two contaminants of concern – nitrates and E. coli bacteria. Human health issues from nitrates include diminished oxygen-carrying capacity in our blood, and E. coli can cause mild to severe upset stomach, diarrhea, fever, and vomiting.

• Nitrate indicator test strips will be included in the test kits
      • If your nitrate strip shows 3 mg/L or higher, please take a picture of your test strip at the time of testing, and let POWJH staff know when you return your test kit. POWJH recommends further testing and will assist in completing a more comprehensive test kit for you from Teton Conservation District (TCD).
      • The EPA’s current standard for maximum contaminant level (MCL) for nitrate in drinking water is 10 mg/L, established in 1962 to protect against blue-baby syndrome. While many studies from the mid-1900s were targeted at this potential outcome from elevated prenatal nitrate exposure, more current studies indicate that chronic exposure at lower levels between 3-10 mg/L may be associated with enhanced risk of digestive system cancers, such as colorectal cancer, and thyroid issues in adults, and adverse reproductive outcomes including low birth weight, preterm birth, or central nervous system defects in infants.
• POWJH is also collaborating with Teton County Health Department (TCHD) to provide coliform bacteria test kits which will test for E. coli bacteria


Due to the nature of aquatic contaminants like coliform bacteria and nitrate, it is best to get data to support the determination that a drinking water problem exists. Specifically, a comprehensive test from TCD, or a re-sample for coliform bacteria test from TCHD are the best next steps. If a problem is discovered, POWJH, TCHD, and TCD staff are here to help find the solution.



  • PICK UP a test kit

    • Wednesday, March 13, 2024
    • 4:00-6:00 pm
    • Jackson Hole High School (1910 High School Rd.)
      (Add to Calendar)
  • COLLECT the water sample in the morning
  • RETURN the test kit
    on the Thursday you sign up for:

    • March 14, 21, or 28
    • April 4 or 11
    • 8:00 am-1:00 pm
    • POWJH office (250 E. Broadway)
    • Test kits must be analyzed the same day the sample is taken.
      POWJH will transport them to the Health Department lab.

— — — — — 


  • PUEDE RECOGER un kit de prueba

  • RECOGA su muestra de agua por la mañana
    (Cuando recoge el kit de prueba, la información está en español.)
  • DEVUELVA el kit de prueba
    en el jueves en el que se inscriba:

    • Marzo 14, 21, or 28
    • Abril 4 or 11
    • 8:00 am-1:00 pm
    • La oficina de POWJH (250 E. Broadway)
    • Los kits de prueba deben analizarse el mismo día que se toma la muestra. POWJH los transportará al laboratorio del Departamento de Salud.


The importance of testing your drinking water well

Why should I test my well water?

If you live in a rural area, your water supply likely comes from a groundwater drinking water well on your property. All residents using water from a private well are solely responsible for operating, testing, and maintaining their well to ensure the water is safe to drink.

In 2012, 1 in 8 drinking water tests from private wells in Teton County, WY tested unsafe = positive for total coliform bacteria. (tetoncountywy.gov)

Coliform bacteria are microbes found in human or animal waste, soil, and surface water. A water sample that is positive for total coliforms indicates that it is very possible that harmful viruses, bacteria, and parasites might also be found in the water.

When should I test my well water?

  • Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality recommends at least once a year. (knowyourwell.org)
  • Spring and summer runoff months are good times to test well water because snowmelt and rain increase the likelihood of mobilizing contaminants.
  • You’re pregnant, nursing, or have children in the household.
  • You notice a change in water taste, color, odor, or clarity.
  • You experience unexplained illnesses in your household.
  • After your, or a neighbor’s, septic system failure.
  • There was a chemical/oil spill nearby, a flood, land disturbance, or a fire.
  • There is water accumulating around your well head.
  • You are buying or selling a property.

How do I test my well water?

  • POWJH and JH High School students free well testing event (dates vary). Test kits include bacteria (E. coli) and nitrates.
  • Teton County Health Department has $20 bacteria tests. Contact: (307) 733-6401, tetoncountywy.gov
  • Teton Conservation District has $50 chemical and bacteria test kits that include arsenic, chloride, fluoride, nitrate, nitrite, pH, sodium, sulfate, total coliforms (bacteria), total dissolved solids, and total hardness. Lead and other metals can be added for an additional fee. Contact: (307) 733-2110, tetonconservation.org

How can I protect my drinking water well?

  • Avoid using or storing fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, vehicles/fuels, and other pollutants within 100 feet of your well.
  • Maintain your septic system to ensure it is working correctly. Leach fields can contaminate wells.
  • Make sure your well has a sealed, intact well cap and the visible casing is not corroded or damaged.
  • Do not keep livestock near your well.
  • Install a barrier surrounding the well if wildlife frequent the area.

Town of Jackson residents

The Town of Jackson performs regular water quality testing to ensure a safe water supply and to satisfy current state and federal regulations. This information is required to be provided to residents each year in a Consumer Confidence Report (CCR). Town of Jackson residents can read the 2022 Annual Water Quality Report (CCR) at: jacksonwy.gov/174/Water-Division