About the Program
The North Central Massachusetts Private Well Program is a community partnership funded by The Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts. The goal of the program is to assess private wells in the northern Worcester County area to determine water quality, educate the homeowner on what their test results show, and work directly with the homeowner if there is a need for remediation efforts.
Private wells can sometimes be contaminated by substances including arsenic, radon, and uranium, which can have both short and long-term health impacts. RCAP Solutions is partnering with Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), the Montachusett Public Health Network, Nashoba Associated Boards of Health, and the Massachusetts Environmental Health Association on this important project.
Over the next several years, RCAP Solutions is hoping to partner with communities in the region to provide complimentary services to residents. This will include outreach, a limited number of free private well assessments, private well water testing, and additional resources for private well owners. A second phase of this effort will include public education, advocacy for private well regulations that better protect homeowners and communities, and identification of financial resources for homeowners needing well remediation.
The Value of Well Assessments & Water Testing
Unlike public drinking water systems, private wells do not have experts regularly checking the water’s source and its quality before it is sent to the tap. Households that use private wells must take special precautions to ensure the safety of their drinking water. When considering well contamination problems and risks, it’s important to know what kind of well you have and how it was constructed. Knowing how water gets into your well and from what source will help you understand what you need to do to protect your groundwater source and well from outside influences.
How to Request a Well Assessment with Free Water Test
RCAP Solutions technical assistance providers will be performing a limited number of well assessments on unregulated wells throughout the region as this program is being developed and piloted. Well assessments identify potential threats to your drinking water. Assessments include a visual inspection, personal interview, evaluation and recommendations. The assessment will conclude with a complimentary water test, which otherwise can be a costly and a time-consuming procedure.
If you would like to have your well assessed and receive the free water test (a $200+ value) please click below to or contact Jim Starbard, 978-502-0227.
Your water will be tested for:
- Coliform Bacteria
Please note: This program is only open to wells used for drinking water purposes. We will conduct the well assessments on a first come, first served basis and priority will be given to those in areas where arsenic and uranium is expected to be high.
A note about safety: Safety is our top priority. When completing well assessments, our staff are required to wear face coverings and practice social distancing. We will not be entering your home and will collect as much information as possible ahead of our visit to your well.
Take the Needs Assessment Survey
An important component of this project is this ongoing Needs Assessment Survey, which will help the project team target activities aimed at raising awareness of the possibility of private well water contamination and promoting the remediation of private wells, when necessary.
We invite you to complete the Needs North Central Massachusetts Private Well Program Needs Assessment Survey. It should take you no longer than 15 minutes. The information you provide will inform the project team as it develops this multi-year program to improve private well water quality. No risks greater than those experienced in responding to general survey questions are anticipated. Still, your participation in the survey is voluntary, and you may choose not to answer any questions and/or leave the survey at any time without penalty.
Anonymous data from this survey will be analyzed. No individual respondent’s name will be identified or linked to the results. The results of the needs assessment may be published or otherwise reported to scientific bodies and documentation for funders, but your identity will in no way be revealed. All information obtained from this assessment will be stored in a secure location, and access to files will be restricted to the RCAP Solutions staff and their evaluator based with Education Development Center, Inc.
Consent: By completing the survey, you are indicating that you fully understand the above information and agree to participate in this assessment.
If you have any questions about this assessment, you may contact Jim Starbard, 978-502-0227.
The communities shown in the following map are included in the program’s area of focus. Residents in this area may be eligible for the complimentary well assessment and water test.
Not in this region? You can still get your well assessed through our EPA Private Well Program.
#WhatsInYourWellWater | 3 Easy Steps to Drill Down Some Answers
1) What to test your water for…
Many contaminants are naturally occurring from features found in the rocks and soils of Massachusetts. These include substances like bacteria, radon, arsenic, uranium, and other minerals. For more detailed information check out MassDEP’s Guide to Water Quality Testing for Private Wells.
2) Where to go to get your water tested…
If you are concerned about the quality of your drinking water, you can contact a MassDEP-certified laboratory to have your water tested.
3) What your water test results mean…
Be Well Informed (BWI) is an online tool hosted by EPA that allows you to enter your water quality lab results and obtain information regarding any contaminant concentrations that exceed MassDEP or federal standards or guidelines that exist for public drinking water. To access the The BWI tool, and for instructions, click here.
Our Staff & Contact Information
The North Central Massachusetts Private Well Program is led by Jim Starbard, Massachusetts State Lead. Mr. Starbard is experienced in all aspects of public health protection and promotion at the local level including inspectional services, emergency preparedness activities, and administrative duties. For more information or assistance, please click below to contact Jim.
Massachusetts State Lead, RCAP Solutions
- Guidance, Water Quality & Testing, and Other Resources for Private Wells
- Private Well Guidelines
- Guide to Water Quality Testing for Private Wells / Brochure
- Arsenic in Private Well Water FAQs
- FAQs: Radionuclides
- Droughts and your private well
- Recommendations for Private Wells Inundated by Flooding
- Drinking Water Guidance for Early Education & Care Facilities with Private Wells / Brochure
We encourage all members of the community to share this webpage and the supplementary materials found below with their constituents/colleagues.
- Press Release
- Memo to Boards of Health
- Letter to Legislators
- Well Assessment Request Form
- Needs Assessment Survey
- Eligible Communities Map
- Social Media Hashtag: #WhatsInYourWellWater
This program is made possible through funding from The Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts