Private Well Initiative (PWI)
About 15 percent of the U.S. population relies on private wells for their drinking water (over 500,000 in Louisiana). Many studies have found unsafe levels of chemicals in private wells including radon, arsenic, uranium, manganese, fluoride, nitrates/nitrites, and bacteria. Unlike public water supplies that are protected by the US EPA Safe Drinking Water Act, private wells do not have a public health program focused on ensuring their continued safety.
The Private Well Initiative (PWI) addresses many different aspects of the public health impacts from drinking water from private wells and other sources not protected by the US EPA Safe Drinking Water Act by doing the following:
- Identifying databases that characterize private wells and describe water quantity and quality in private wells and other unregulated drinking water sources (UDWS).
- Promoting access to these databases by public and environmental health practitioners.
- Collecting databases that characterize private wells and describe water quantity and quality in private wells and other UDWS.
- Partnering with the Environmental Public Health Tracking Portal to make these databases available to public and environmental health practitioners.
- Identifying, evaluating, and recommending interventions to protect people from drinking contaminated water from these UDWS.
The Department of Health (LDH) is only required to test and check public water systems. Well owners are responsible for checking and testing their water supply.