Cistern Testing

Cisterns are contained water supplies for homes without access to a public water source. Homes with cisterns usually collect water from the roof or purchase water from a water hauler. View a list of tips for proper maintenance and disinfection of cisterns.

Water testing for homes using cisterns is often required for real-estate transactions, including buying/selling or refinancing. While this testing is not required by local or state law, the Health Department offers it as a service for properties located in Boone, Campbell, Grant and Kenton Counties.

By requesting a cistern inspection/water sample, the Health Department will provide a report with observations made at time of inspection and recommendations for repair or cleaning/disinfection only.

  • Because the inspections are not required by law, no enforcement will be provided by the Health Department.
  • The observations made on the day of inspection will be based partly upon information provided to the Health Department.
  • The inspection does not constitute either a written or implied warranty or guarantee that the private water system in question is installed in compliance with any prevailing code, nor that the system will operate in a satisfactory manner in the future.
  • Samples will be tested for fecal and total coliform only. Additional testing for lead, pesticides, etc. would need to be arranged through Northern Kentucky Water District or a private lab.

Request testing

Please complete an application (PDF or Word) and return it to the Northern Kentucky Health Department, Environmental Health and Safety, 610 Medical Village Drive, Edgewood, KY  41017.

  • Once application and payment are received, allow up to 10 business days for completion of inspection and sampling.
  • The fee of $150 includes an inspection and up to two samples; additional sampling will cost $55 each.
  • It may be necessary to meet the inspector for access to the cistern or sampling site.

To ensure the water quality meets EPA’s drinking water standards, cistern cleaning and/or disinfection is suggested.  View a list of tips for proper maintenance and disinfection of cisterns.

The Health Department contracts with the Northern Kentucky Water District for water quality testing.

  • View a copy of the Northern Kentucky Water District’s lab certification.
  • Samples will be tested for fecal and total coliform only. Additional testing for lead, pesticides, etc. would need to be arranged through Northern Kentucky Water District or a private lab.

More information

If you have questions or need additional information, please call the Health Department at 859-341-4151.