Bore construction

Bore water testing

There is no legal water quality testing needed for private water bores.

It's up to you to keep track of your water quality.

You should test water quality after bore construction, before the water is used, and each year after that.

Tests for bacteria, nitrate and trace metals should be done by a NATA-accredited water analysis laboratory.

If you're operating a business that provides drinking water, you must make sure the water is safe to drink.

Read more about how to manage private water supplies.

Test for trace metals

If you're taking water from an aquifer which includes black shale, you should test your bore for trace metals including arsenic.

Black shale can be naturally mineralised with heavy metals.

Darwin rural area bores that have black shale are:

  • Whites formation Acacia Hills - part of the Mount Partridge groundwater system
  • Burrell Creek formation, South Alligator.

To find out which groundwater resource your bore is taking water from, use the know your bore tool on the Department of Environment, Parks and Water Security website.

Testing laboratories

You should contact a NATA-accredited laboratory to test your bore water.

A range of services are offered locally by Northern Territory (NT) Government and private laboratories.

See below options.

Northern Territory Environmental Laboratories (NTEL)

To get your bore water tested for chemicals and trace metals by NTEL, call 08 8947 0510 or email

For more information, go to the Intertek website.

NT Government laboratories

Choose the type of testing you need and call a government laboratory near you.

Darwin - Berrimah Farm

For chemical testing, call 08 8999 2194.

For microbiological testing, call 08 8999 2347.

Alice Springs - AZRI Building

For microbiological testing, call 08 8951 8110.

More information

For more information on NT Government water laboratory testing, services and charges, go to the Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade website.

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Last updated: 30 September 2020

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