This spring, Chester Township and Chester Borough will team up with Raritan Headwaters to offer well testing at an affordable cost. Residents can purchase water sample collection kits on Saturday, April 7th from 9:00 a.m. to noon at The Barn at Highlands Ridge Park at 100 North Road. Water samples must then be dropped off on Monday, April 9th from 6:30-10:00 a.m. at The Barn. Test results will be available two weeks later.

Unlike public drinking water systems, private wells are not required by law to be regularly checked for contamination before the water is sent to the tap.

Raritan Headwaters is a nonprofit watershed conservation organization working to protect and preserve the public’s access to safe, clean water that is swimmable, fishable and most importantly, drinkable. Eighty percent of the residents of this region – about 320,000 people – obtain their drinking water through wells.

Well water pollutants found in the region include coliform bacteria, nitrate, arsenic, iron, radon and volatile organic compounds. Sources of contamination include failing septic systems, chemical fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides and naturally-occurring contaminants like arsenic. Water may also become contaminated with lead and copper as it travels through older pipes in the home.

Raritan Headwaters offers a “basic kit” for coliform bacteria and nitrate for $60. Residents may also test for other potential contaminants at an additional cost.

Staff members at RHA are available to advise citizens who are uncertain about which tests to order and to review individual results after testing is complete. More information on the tests we offer can be found at Testing is performed by a private state certified laboratory and results are confidential.

The Community Well Testing program was established in 1974, allowing RHA to monitor the health of our region’s groundwater supply for over four decades. Raritan Headwaters recently completed a 30-year trend analysis of well water tests result in the region, which showed an increase in arsenic levels in several towns as well as slight increases in coliform bacteria and nitrate concentrations.

“Your private well is an important investment that is best protected by regular check-ups to ensure a reliable and safe source of drinking water for you and your family,” said Mara Tippett, well test manager for RHA.

Residents who aren’t able to take advantage of the Chester’s Community Well Test event can contact Tippett to arrange to pick up a test kit at RHA’s Bedminster or Flemington office. She can be contacted at 908-234-1852, ext. 401 or

For more information about Raritan Headwaters and its programs and preserves, go to