Private Well Program to Protect Public Health

About the Program

The Private Well Program to Protect Public Health is a community partnership funded by The Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts. The goal of the program is to promote better public health and safety for households with private wells. The program will assess private wells in the northern Worcester County area to determine water quality, educate homeowners on what their water test results show, and work directly with homeowners 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.

During the 2021 pilot year, RCAP Solutions is partnering with six communities in the region to provide complimentary services to residents. This will include a limited number of complimentary private well assessments, water testing, and additional resources for well owners. A second phase of this effort will include public education, advocacy for private well regulations that better protect homeowners and communities and that are on par with regulations for public water systems, and identification of financial resources for homeowners needing well remediation.

For the latest updates, follow #WhatsInYourWellWater on social media.

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 quality before it is sent to the tap. Households that use private wells should 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 adverse impacts. RCAP Solutions will compile and assess this information for participating private well owners in order to identify potential issues with their wells, including contamination threats.

2021 Eligible Communities

Below we have outlined the six towns whose residents are eligible for a complimentary well assessment and water test during 2021 and in which months the assessments will be conducted. Well assessments and water testing will be scheduled to occur during regular business hours, Monday through Friday only. Forty (40) slots are available in each town.

The success of our efforts in these towns will guide the implementation of the program into other communities over the next several years and the development of solutions to improve the quality and safety of private well water.

Please note: This program is only open to wells used for drinking water purposes. Requests are handled on a first-come, first-served basis. When registering to receive the grant-funded services, residents will be asked for their permission to complete short surveys – one prior to and two others following the well assessment. Information from these surveys helps us improve our understanding of resident priorities and informs improvements to our programming. Aggregate, de-identified results will be shared with local boards of health and our partners to inform development of this program.

Not in this region? Check out our EPA Private Well Program.

How to Request a Well Assessment with Complimentary 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 can otherwise be a costly and a time-consuming procedure.

If you would like to receive a complimentary well assessment and water test (a $200+ value) please complete the request form below or contact Lili Dagle, 508-221-7303.

Well Assessment Request Form (Click)

Testing Will Assess the Following::

  • Arsenic
  • Chloride
  • Copper
  • Fluoride
  • Hardness
  • Iron
  • Lead
  • Manganese
  • pH
  • Sodium
  • Coliform Bacteria
  • Nitrate/Nitrite
  • Uranium
  • Radon

RCAP Solutions will not be testing for Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) through this program. To get your well water tested for PFAS through MassDEP, click here.

Free PFAS testing through MassDEP is available to a limited number of applicants in all RCAP Solutions 2021 Eligible Communities except Sterling.

Please note: 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.

What’s in Your Well Water? 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

Lili Dagle
Community Resources Project Assistant

The Private Well Program to Protect Public Health is managed by Lili Dagle. She serves as the Project Coordinator and is responsible for managing communication with town officials, private well homeowners, and our partners. For more information or assistance regarding the program, please contact Lili.

Jim Starbard
Massachusetts State Lead

Jim Starbard is the Lead Sanitarian for the Private Well Program to Protect Public Health. 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.

Helpful Links


UMass Amherst

National Resources

Private Well Program to Protect Public Health Pilot Year Overview

Our Partners

This program is made possible through funding from The Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts