Free Nitrate Water Testing Event for Stearns County Private Well Owners
Do you get your drinking water from a private well?
If so, get your water tested for FREE, with immediate results!
Date: Thursday, September 9th
Time: 2:00PM - 7:00PM
Location: St. Joseph Township Hall
935 College Ave S, St. Joseph, MN
Nitrate-nitrogen (referred to as nitrate) is a common contaminant found in many wells throughout Minnesota. Shallow wells, dug wells, and wells with damaged or leaking casings are the most vulnerable to nitrate contamination. Major sources of nitrate contamination can be from fertilizers, animal waste, and human sewage. It is highly recommended to test your drinking water supply on a regular basis.
How this works?
1. Find a clean sample container such as a plastic sandwich or freezer bag, glass jar, etc. that can hold at least 1 cup of water. Collect a water sample from your well by running the cold water tap for 5 minutes before taking the sample.
2. While the water is running, use a permanent marker to label your container with your first and last name. If you wish to remain anonymous, label the container with a number or a code you will easily remember. If you have more than one sample, add an identifier like Sample #1 and Sample #2.
3. Collect a minimum of a ½ cup of water in the container within 24 hours of arriving at the event. The water sample should be cool upon arrival so keep the sample refrigerated until you leave for the event.
4. If you have water treatment equipment installed (other than a water softener which has no affect on nitrate levels), we recommend taking a sample “before” and “after” to determine if your treatment equipment is working properly.
5. Bring your water sample to the St. Joseph Township Hall between the hours of 2:00 and 7:00 PM on Thursday, September 9th. The address is 935 College Avenue South, St. Joseph MN.
6. Once you arrive at the event, we will ask you to fill out a short survey about your water, your well, and your water treatment system. If you can, bring a picture of your well and treatment system, it will help us advise you on water quality issues that may show up in the testing.
7. Your sample will be collected from you and analyzed while you wait – usually no longer than 10 minutes. Our water experts will bring you the results and gladly answer any questions you may have about your well or well water.
8. There will be a Cost share opportunity for certified water testing a $90.00 value for $40.00.
Certified Water Testing Cost-Share Opportunity
Certified water testing will be available through Traut Companies for a small fee to test for bacteria, nitrate, and arsenic. This option is only available for those who get their primary drinking water from a private well and bring in a water sample to the nitrate testing event. Traut Companies will be on site to provide water sample bottles and instructions on how to collect a water sample for further testing.
Cost: $40 per water sample ($50 is covered by the SWCD). Must be paid on site on the day of clinic (credit card, cash, and check are accepted).
Deadline: Submit water samples to Traut Wells by September 30th.
For more information, contact Wayne Cymbaluk (Stearns County SWCD) @ 320-345-6492
Can't make the event, but still interested in getting your water sampled?
There will be a cooler located outside the main door of the Township Hall the morning of the Event. Complete the short survey, label both the water sample and survey with the same unique identification number and then place sample in the cooler.
More Information on Nitrates
At a minimum, private wells should be tested for coliform bacteria once a year and for nitrate every two or three years. If nitrate has been detected previously, the well should be tested for nitrate every year.
Every private well should be tested at least once to determine if arsenic is present in the water, and at what levels (language provided by the Minnesota Department of Health).
MN Department of Agriculture: https://www.mda.state.mn.us/water-testing-nitrate
MN Department of Health: https://www.health.state.mn.us/communities/environment/water/wells/waterquality/nitrate.html
Well Owner's Handbook - A Consumer's Guide to Water Wells in Minnesota: https://www.health.state.mn.us/communities/environment/water/docs/wells/construction/handbook.pdf