Find out what’s in your (well) water

Published 5:57 pm Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Homeowners in Western Tidewater who use wells, springs or cisterns are being offered a way to test the quality and health of their water, which is the goal of the program offered annually by the Virginia Household Water Quality Program.

For such residents who want to participate, they must first register to get the well water sample kit(s) and instructions on how to collect water samples. According to the information provided by the Isle of Wight County Extension Office, participants are to collect samples on a specific day and time, and drop them off at an Extension Office collection point in their locality; physical distancing and masks are required during the drop off.

The water is analyzed on the Virginia Tech campus for 14 parameters: iron, sodium, fluoride, manganese, copper, hardness, coliform bacteria, E. coli bacteria, total dissolved solids, arsenic, lead, sulfate, nitrate and pH.

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When the analysis is finished, details about the results and how to address any issues will be sent via a confidential mail or email.

Through the sponsorship by the Hampton Roads Sanitation District, the cost per sample has been reduced from $60/sample to $20/sample. The deadline to register via credit card is March 15. Go to

Pick up the sample kits at a local VCE office on either March 22 or 23.

The water samples can be dropped off from 7 to 9 a.m. on March 24 at the Extension office parking lots just by driving up; masks are needed.

  • Chesapeake Extension Office, 310 Shea Drive, Chesapeake
  • Isle of Wight Extension Office, 17100 Monument Circle, Suite B, Isle of Wight
  • Suffolk Extension Office, 440 Market St., Suffolk
  • Surry Extension Office, 45 School St., Surry Government Center

The live interpretation meeting via Zoom will be done from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on April 28. A link for recorded interpretation will also be offered.

To register by mail, send a check or money order for $20 per sample kit to either:

  • VCE-Chesapeake (310 Shea Drive, Chesapeake, VA 23322)
  • VCE-Isle of Wight (17100 Monument Circle, Suite B, Isle of Wight, VA 23397)
  • VCE-Suffolk (P.O. Box 218, Suffolk, VA 23439).
  • VCE-Surry (P. O. Box 205, Surry, VA 23883)

A return check fee of $50 applies in all counties.

During the clinic, participants will have an opportunity to learn about the Sustainable Water Initiative for Tomorrow (SWIFT). This water purification initiative is designed to ensure a sustainable source of groundwater while addressing environmental challenges such as Chesapeake Bay restoration, sea level rise and saltwater intrusion.

For further details, contact Watson Lawrence in Chesapeake,; or Livvy Preisser in Isle of Wight,; or Elizabeth Pittman in Suffolk,; or Tye Blount in Surry,; or