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18 Protecting and Testing Drinking Water Sources Untreated surface water should never be ingested. Even healthy lakes can harbour harmful bacteria and parasites that can make you sick or worse. Bacterial contamination such as E. coli causes stomach cramps and diarrhea along with other problems. Bacteria such as Giardia which causes the illness known as beaver fever and cryptosporidium can cause gastro-intestinal problems. Natural groundwater quality is often excellent and is vastly superior to surface water sources. If your drinking water comes from a well follow these tips Test treated drinking water for bacteria at least three times a year and after any major plumbing work. Clean debris from your well and make sure the lid is vermin-proof and fits tightly. Ensure that your well is at least 100 feet away from your and your neighbours septic bed. JamesWilkesWellAware Get links to information about well safety here httpfoca.on.cawater-wells-overview To locate your local public health unit or laboratory to test drinking water visit and search public health. Whether your water comes from a well or a municipal source everyone can take the following steps to help protect water quality Use less water Conserve water by installing water-saving fixtures like low- flow aerators. Take short showers rather than full baths. Only run laundry machines and dishwashers with full loads. Fix leaky faucets. Install and maintain vegetated zones to manage storm water runoff from parking areas and driveways.