Private Water Wells


The Environmental Health Department protects residents who use private water systems. A private water system includes wells, cisterns, springs, ponds, and hauled water storage tanks. Private systems also serve 25 or fewer people.

The Geauga County Board of Health, with the assistance of the Environmental Health Department, enforces private water system rules and laws, which are set forth by the Ohio Revised Code and the Ohio Administrative Code. Any variances from the health code must be approved by the Geauga County Board of Health. The Water Systems division issues permits for installation of new private water systems and for alterations to existing systems; the division also provides water testing of private water systems.


Any homeowner or builder that is beginning construction of a new home is required to contact Geauga Public Health for a lot evaluation. After the evaluation, new sewage and water well permits are issued.

An alteration is considered as a major change to the construction or configuration of an existing system such as: adding a disinfecting device, deepening a well, replacing casing, etc. Private water sysetms are classified according to the type of dwelling, single family or multi-family dwelling.

A single family dwelling is a home where only 1 family resides
A multi-family dwelling could be a duplex home or some small business operations

Private water system permits are good for 1 year. During this one year time frame, the installation or alteration must be performed, the system must pass a final inspection, and the water supply must pass a water test to ensure safety. This water test analyzes coliform bacteria and nitrates

Coliform Bacteria & Nitrate Levels

Coliform Bacteria:

Positive results for coliform indicate at least 1 coliform bacteria was found in the water sample collected and disease-causing organisms may be present in your well. Coliform bacteria rarely occurs in ground water and is generally associated with animal and human waste product. If coliform bacteria have made their way into your well, other organisms might also be present and can cause sickness or death. This bacteria test does not look for pesticides, chemicals, hardness or any other water quality indicators.

Nitrate Levels

Nitrates are chemicals that occur naturally in the environment when animal waste decomposes in the soil or water by microbes to form ammonia. This ammonia is then changed to nitrite and nitrate. Because nitrite is easily oxidized into nitrate, nitrate is the form that is generally found in ground water and surface water. Water can also be contaminated by nitrate through the use of nitrogen-containing fertilizers or products containing large amounts of ammonia and urea. Symptoms of short-term exposure to nitrate could include:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Progressive muscular paralysis

Infants who are fed formula diluted with water are more sensitive to nitrates because they have a higher intake of water to their body weight. Pregnant women are also more sensitive to nitrates.


Year Category
Geauga Private Water Contractor List 2024 GPH-Private-Water-Contractor-List-2024.pdf Apr 1, 2024 2024-04-01 Environmental HealthPrivate Water Well
Parkman Wells Bid Packet – Phase II Parkman-Phase-2-Posting.pdf Jun 22, 2023 2023-06-22 Environmental HealthPrivate Water Well
Application for Household Water Supply Evaluation PWSEvalP2.pdf Feb 1, 2023 2023-02-01 Environmental HealthPrivate Water Well
ODH Disinfection Fact Sheet for Drinking Water Wells 2012HODisinfectionFactsheet_CALCULATOR.pdf Feb 1, 2023 2023-02-01 Environmental HealthPrivate Water Well
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