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Wells provide Idahoans with groundwater for their drinking water and household and irrigation water needs. A private (domestic) well supplies water to one a few houses while a public water system supply well provides water to several houses, a community, or a business or school and is operated by an entity. There are approximately 2,000 public drinking water systems in Idaho serving approximately 1.3 million citizens.

Whether you use a private well or are connected to a public drinking water system, the water that flows from your tap is likely groundwater. If your water is from a public system, you rely on your water provider to ensure your water is safe to drink. Public water systems are regulated by the Safe Drinking Water Act.  However, if you use a private well, these wells are not regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act and well owners are responsible for ensuring their water is safe. Since both public and private wells are drilled into groundwater, the same contaminants that are present in groundwater, such as nitrate and arsenic, can be also present in well water.

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