It is recommended that private well owners test their well for bacteria and nitrates on a yearly basis. Residents whose water is provided by a community source, such as a subdivision, or municipal well supplier (Barrington and Tower Lakes) do not need to test individually since the supplier is required to perform tests regularly.

BACOG facilitates Bacteria and Nitrates testing for residents in the Barrington Area at reduced costs:


The Annual BACOG Level 1 Private Well Water Testing Event will be held Thursday, October 13, 2022, 11:00am – 6:30pm at The Barrington Area Library. Purchase water testing kits from October 3 – 10 at your local Village/Township Office. The full list includes: BACOG Office, Barrington Hills Village Hall, Barrington Township Office, Deer Park Village Hall, Lake Barrington Village Hall, South Barrington Village Hall and Tower Lakes Village Hall during regular office hours. Households with private wells are advised to test for bacteria and nitrates on an annual basis to detect these invisible, odorless contaminants. Bacteria and nitrates can result from animal, insect or human waste or fertilizers reaching the well water and can cause illness in humans. On October 13, residents may drop off their water sample kits off at the BACOG Event at the Barrington Area Library anytime between the house of 11:00am and 6:30pm. Participants will park in the Library lot and come into the building. We will be in the first community room on the left (there will be plenty of signage). Although primarily a drop-off event, several of our Community Partners will be there with information and take-aways, along with the Lake County Health Department Staff, who will be available to residents for water testing questions. Test results will be emailed to homeowners within two weeks. Any homeowner with positive results for bacteria or elevated nitrate levels will be contacted within 48 hours by the Lake County Health Department.

Residents have the option to test their water for bacteria and nitrates through the following public health departments:

Cook County Public Health (847) 818-2841 (bacteria testing only)
To obtain a water testing kit from the Cook County Public Health Department,  contact their office in Rolling Meadows to schedule an appointment for pick up.  Residents will be responsible for mailing the test kit and paperwork to the IDPH lab in Chicago. 

Lake County Health Department: (847) 377-8020 (bacteria and nitrates testing)
To obtain a water testing kit from the Lake County Health Department, stop by their office in Libertyville or pick one up at one of the following participating locations below.  Residents will be responsible for delivering the test kit to their lab in Libertyville.

    • Village of Barrington Hills (847) 551-3000
    • Village of Deer Park (847) 726-1648
    • Village of Lake Barrington (847) 681-6010


Residents rely on the water that comes into their home every day, and it is up to each private well owner to maintain its quality and safety.  Additional testing may identify contaminants in the natural well water before it is treated by a water softener or reverse osmosis (RO) system. Testing is recommended every 5 years or with a transfer of real estate.   

The Barrington Area Council of Governments (BACOG) refers residents to the Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS) to test your natural water quality.  If a resident would like additional information about additional well water testing, contact the Illinois State Water Survey

Water Quality

Ever wondered what to do with unused and expired medications?  Don’t flush them! You could be harming your drinking water.

Recent testing has shown an increasing number of drinking water sources around the country contain pharmaceutical components. Currently the levels are not known to affect human health, but studies show that some aquatic species are negatively reacting to pharmaceuticals contaminating their water. The Barrington Area Council of Governments (BACOG) advocates taking steps now to protect our groundwater from contamination before it becomes a health issue.

Don’t flush or toss!

Flushing old and unused medication creates an easy avenue for groundwater contamination. Septic tanks and wastewater treatment plants are unable to remove all pharmaceutical components during treatment. The water released from the treatment plant or your septic system still contains remnants of flushed medication. Through recharge, this water can make its way from the ground surface down to the groundwater, contaminating the water we pump into our homes for drinking. Putting your medicines in the trash is not a safe alternative. Landfills create a liquid composed of everything in the landfill, including pharmaceuticals. This liquid may be treated at a wastewater treatment plant but will still contain pharmaceuticals that can contaminate our water.

Where can I dispose of my pharmaceuticals?

Dispose of your pharmaceuticals at a reputable take back program. These facilities, in cooperation with the Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County, collect expired and unused medications. Residents of the BACOG region are fortunate to have collection facilities in and adjacent to their communities – take advantage of these sites, and protect our drinking water. If you have questions, contact the location you would like to visit.

Medication Drop Off Locations List

Medication Drop Off Locations Map

Water Softeners

Water Softeners Contribute to Salt and Chloride in Water Resources