New home buyers of one of the 20,000 homes in Westchester County served by a private well are protected by Westchester’s Private Well Water Testing Law, which states:
§ 707.03. Water Testing Requirements Upon Sale of Real Property.
Upon the signing of a contract of sale for any property within Westchester County served by a private well, the seller of such property shall cause a water test to be conducted in the manner established, and for at least the parameters required, in this Chapter. The seller shall arrange and pay for the cost of this testing, and, within ten (10) days of the execution of the contract, provide the purchaser of the property with confirmation that the test has been ordered.
The law (effective 2007) requires that a water test be conducted upon signing a contract of sale for any property served by a private drinking water well. The test will ensure that the well water is safe for human consumption through analysis for the presence of coliform bacteria and chemical contaminants, including: bacteria (total coliform); either fecal coliform or Eschericia coli (e-coli) if the sample tests positive for total bacteria; chloride; nitrate, pH, arsenic; iron; manganese; sodium; lead; all primary organic contaminants (POCs) included in Part 5 of the New York State Sanitary Code; vinyl chloride; methyl-tertiary-butyl-ether (MTBE); and any additional parameters required by Westchester County Department of Health rule and regulation.
Under the law, only certified laboratories are authorized to collect and test the water samples, and all tests and results must be submitted to the Westchester County Health Department The law also establishes the responsibilities of home sellers and buyers requiring that any drinking water quality problems are corrected
Westchester County Private Well Water Testing Legislation, Local Law 7 of 2007, was adopted on May 23, 2007, and became effective November 19, 2007. A copy of the Local Law, including the Westchester County Health Department Rules & Regulations which supplement the Local Law, as well as additional information regarding the law, may be obtained on the Westchester County Department of Health’s website at http://www.westchestergov.com/health/ .
The moral of the story– if you are buying a new home served by a private well, you are well served to investigate the water quality through the mandated testing. Ask your New York real estate professional or attorney.