In rural Alberta, 90 per cent of people use private well water supplies for domestic use (e.g., drinking, cooking, bathing). Domestic well water systems are not regulated by the provincial or federal governments. The Government of Alberta along with Alberta Health Services (AHS) provides water chemistry testing of private well water and information and advice on safe water for domestic purposes; however, it is the responsibility of well owners to ensure the quality and safety of their water supply. Water quality may be impacted by contamination from natural sources or human activities and cause noticeable aesthetic issues or potential health concerns. Water samples are collected and submitted by well owners through local AHS sites for analysis of routine chemistry and trace element parameters. Routine chemistry testing focuses on the suitability of the water for drinking and household use with two health-related parameters. For trace elements, testing used to be conducted only when there were health concerns or when the water was suspected to contain chemicals of concern (2001 to Sep 2018). Currently, trace element testing is completed for all samples submitted for routine analysis (if the sample volume is sufficient). The Alberta Centre for Toxicology has conducted the analyses of raw domestic well water samples since March 2004. From 2001 to Mar 2004, testing was conducted by Enviro-Test Laboratories. Limited information is available regarding the analytical methods and detection limits for this lab; therefore, users are advised to exercise caution when using the 2001 to Mar 2004 data. These datasets contain the trace chemistry results for raw well water samples collected from 2001 to 2018. Corrections may be made to the dataset over time (e.g., removal of samples deemed to be treated); users should regularly check for updates and download the most current versions. For additional information, refer to the publications on the “Related” tab of this webpage.
January 23, 2024
This file contains column descriptions for the Trace Element Analysis data.More information Download
Trace element analysis for 2001 to March 2004More information Download
Trace elements analysis for 2004 to 2006.More information Download
Trace elements analysis for 2007 to 2009.More information Download
Trace elements analysis for 2010 to 2012.More information Download
Trace elements analysis for 2013 to 2015.More information Download
Trace elements analysis for 2016 to 2018.More information Download
Title and Dataset Information
Alberta Domestic Well Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Program
Publisher / Creator Information
Date Added to catalogue
Usage / Licence
In Alberta, regular physical-chemical testing of raw domestic well water is recommended to private well owners. Local public health inspectors in Alberta Health Services receive the samples, coordinate the transportation of samples to the laboratory and assist well owners with interpretation of the results, providing advice and information to the well owner. Since March 2004, routine chemistry and trace elements testing has been conducted at the Alberta Centre for Toxicology (ACFT) at the University of Calgary (see the Column Descriptions for details on analytical methods). From 2001 to Mar 2004, testing was conducted by Enviro-Test Laboratories. Limited information is available regarding the analytical methods and detection limits for this lab; therefore, users are advised to exercise caution when using the data in the 2001 to Mar 2004 file. These datasets compile the trace elements test results (23 parameters) for domestic well water samples voluntarily submitted between 2001 and 2018. The name of the well owner has been omitted as well as any other personal identifier (phone number, address, etc.). The Legal Land Description of the well is provided at the section level (1 mile x 1 mile) to help maintain confidentiality. The trace elements datasets utilize a value of “-99” to indicate missing information. Small negative numbers represent the detection limit for samples that fell below the limit of detection (applies to samples collected from Mar 2004 onwards and analyzed at ACFT). This value will vary over time with the changing limits of detection due to factors such as equipment upgrades. For well depth, a value of “-50” is used to indicate an unreported well depth. The datasets are provided as a series. Each file in a series represents Domestic Well Water Quality – Trace Elements for 3 years. For additional information on the sampling and analytical methods, refer to the publications on the “Related” tab of this webpage.
Alberta Health Environmental Public Health Science Team