USDA Mortgage Water Test Requirements

Image of a glass of water.
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If you are applying for a mortgage backed by the US Department of Agriculture's Guaranteed Rural Housing Program, you must have the drinking water tested before being approved for financing. Because no down payment is required, a lender isn't likely to finance a property that has problems, including any health or safety issues. A water quality analysis must meet local and state standards, according to USDA guidelines.


Testing Agencies

An inspector from the local health department or a laboratory certified by the state takes water samples for testing. State laboratories performing analyses of drinking water compliance samples must meet the minimum criteria established by the US Environmental Protection Agency to qualify for certification. Once the water has been tested, you must submit the results to be included with the appraisal report to the lender.


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Water Tests

Well water samples are tested for the presence of coliform bacteria, lead and nitrates. Certain bacteria present in drinking water can transmit infectious diseases. Analyzing water quality may also include testing for arsenic, mercury and other harmful chemicals and contaminants depending on where the home is located. Elevated levels of these contaminants in drinking water can lead to a wide range of health problems.