Healthy places Water Safe drinking water

Safe drinking water

A reliable municipal water system benefits the community in many ways.

Protecting public health

An estimated 3 million people die every year from preventable waterborne disease. Water systems in North America allow us to drink from virtually any public tap with a high assurance of safety, and without fear of diseases such as cholera and dysentery.

Support for the economy

A safe, reliable water supply is central to the economic success of a community. Tap water is critical to the day-to-day operations of existing businesses and to the viability of new commercial enterprises or residential developments.

Quality of life

Tap water is more than a convenience; it is central to our everyday lives. Any measure of a successful society—low mortality rates, economic diversity, productivity, public safety—is in some way related to access to safe water. Tap water is so intricately part of our lives that we can hardly imagine a day without it.

Private well water

Oxford County encourages residents with private wells to test their water a minimum of three times a year for bacteria and once a year for nitrates and fluoride.

Why you should test

Drinking water contaminated with bacteria or high levels of nitrates can cause health problems. Bacteria can cause gastrointestinal illness, including diarrhea. High levels of nitrates can lead to what is called "Blue Baby Syndrome" in infants less than six months of age, affecting the blood’s ability to carry oxygen.

When you should test

You should test your drinking well water for bacteria at least three times a year, or:

  • after major plumbing work has been done;
  • if you notice changes in water quality, taste, odour, and appearance; or
  • after a flood

How to take a sample

Water testing kits are available at Oxford County Public Health at 410 Buller Street in Woodstock free of charge.

Samples should be submitted the same day they are collected. They are sent to the London Public Health lab to be tested for Total Coliforms and E.coli bacteria.

All other tests, including fluoride & nitrates must be done by a private lab. Government of Ontario – List of Licensed Laboratories

Water sample pick up and drop off locations         

Embro Library

135 Huron St.

Wed: 2:00 - 5:00pm

Norwich Twp. Office

285767 Airport Rd.

Tues: 8:30 - 10:30am

Alexandra Hospital (Switchboard)

29 Noxon St. Ingersoll

Mon - Thurs: 8 - 8pm

Fri: 8 - 11am

Sindeen Feed & Seed

15 Main St. Princeton

Wed: 8:30 -10:30am

Tillsonburg District Memorial Hospital
(Information desk)

167 Rolph St.

Mon-Thur: 8am - 8pm

Tavistock Library

40 Woodstock St. S.

Wed: 3:00 - 5:00pm

South-West Oxford
Township Office

312915 Dereham Line

Tues: 8:30 - 11:30am

Public Health & Emergency Services

410 Buller Street, Woodstock

Mon-Thurs: 8:30 - 4:30

Fri: 8:30 - 11:30am

All Township offices have water sample bottles available for pick up only. Please note that water samples must be taken less than 48 hours before being submitted.