June 17, 2018

Minnesota Officials: Private Well Owners Should Test Water

The Minnesota Department of Health says that private well owners should test their water. Last week was National Groundwater Awareness Week. More than a million Minnesotans get their drinking water from private wells. Many are not tested for bacteria and chemicals such as arsenic and nitrate. Public health officials say that “as many as 25 percent of private wells in Minnesota have detectable levels of total coliform (fecal) bacteria, an indication that surface contamination has entered the well or water system.”

Private wells should be tested once a year for coliform bacteria. Testing for nitrate should take place every two or three years, or more often if an infant under the age of six months will be drinking the water. Every well should be tested for arsenic at least once. Since 1974, all water wells must be constructed according to the Minnesota Well Code. If a well is contaminated with fecal bacteria, the water should be boiled before use and the well should be disinfected.

You can find information about well testing from your local county health department. Commercial labs will also test water; look in the Yellow Pages under “Laboratories – Testing”. Most tests costs between $20 and $40. For more information on well water, how to test it, and where it should be located and constructed, see the Minnesota Department of Health Well Management site.

Comments

  1. Todd @ Water Wells says:

    I get many calls from well owner requesting their well get tested every year, and sometimes after major storms. You can never be too safe with your drinking water.

  2. Testing for nitrate should take place every two or three years, or more often if an infant under the age of six months will be drinking the water.

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