Water in nature is never pure H2O. It contains a variety of dissolved minerals and gases that are usually harmless and give the water most of its taste. However, water can sometimes be contaminated with things like bacteria and chemicals that can harm our health. Contaminated water often looks, smells, and tastes fine. Also, the water quality of private wells can vary dramatically and getting your well tested is important, especially where septic systems are used. It's recommended to check the quality of well water before you buy a property and annually thereafter. There are many possible contaminants found in well water that pose health risks. At a minimum, testing for nitrates, sulfates, lead, iron, total dissolved solids (TDS), hardness, pH, and bacteria (coliform and ecoli) should be done. Additional testing can be performed beyond this to check for other possible contaminates.