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Private Well Screening Event

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As a private well owner, it is your responsibility to get your water tested for nitrates, arsenic, and other contaminants. Nitrates are the most common contaminant in Minnesota’s groundwater. Since you can’t taste it or see it, many people are not aware it is in their water.

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). 

To screen your water for nitrates and chlorides, a private well screening event will be held on Wednesday, May 15 from 11:00AM-6:00PM at Art in Motion on the Lake Wobegon Trail in Holdingford. While you wait for your results, visit the We Are Water MN exhibit on display at Art in Motion from April 25-June 16.


The Stearns County SWCD, the Minnesota Groundwater Association (MNGWA), Minnesota Well Owners Organization (MNWOO) and other partners to provide free nitrate and chloride water screening for households that rely on private wells. 

Event Information 


Wednesday, May 15


11:00AM - 6:00PM


Art in Motion on the Lake Wobegon Trail 

1400 4th St, Holdingford, MN 56340


Free to attend. While waiting for your results, visit the We Are Water MN exhibit

How to participate

Collect 1 cup of water from cold tap in a clean container on May 15. Keep the sample cool and bring it to Art in Motion between 11:00AM-6:00PM. 

Can't make the event? 

Drop off a water sample after 7:00AM. A cooler will be available outside of Art in Motion. A staff member will be on site to assist. 

Questions? Contact: 

Stearns County SWCD 

320-251-7800 ext.3

How this works?


1. Find a clean sample container that can hold at least 1 cup of water. Collect sample from the cold water tap in your kitchen sink on the day of the event (May 15th).

2. Use a permanent marker to label your container with your first and last name. If you have more than one sample, add an identifier like Sample #1 and Sample #2.

3. Collect a minimum of 1 cup of water in a container. 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 effect 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 Art in Motion on the Lake Wobegon Trail in Holdingford between the hours of 11:00AM - 6:00 PM on Wednesday, May 15th. If you can't make the event, then you can drop off your water sample before the event after 7:00AM in a cooler outside of Art in Motion on the Lake Wobegon Trail. 

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. Your sample will be transferred into one of our leakproof containers. 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 screening.

7. Your sample will be collected from you and analyzed while you wait. While you wait for your water sample to be screened, visit the We Are Water MN exhibit. Our water experts will bring you the results and gladly answer any questions you may have about your well or well water.

Sign-up to be notified of upcoming private well screening events in Stearns County. 

Thank you for your response.


MN Department of Agriculture:

MN Department of Health (nitrates):

MN Department of Health (water quality/well testing/well disinfection):

Well Owner's Handbook - A Consumer's Guide to Water Wells in Minnesota:

We Are Water Exhibit

The We Are Water exhibit will be held at Art in Motion on the Lake Wobegon Trail in Holdingford from April 25 - June 16 during their business hours. We Are Water MN deepens connections between the humanities and water through a network of partnerships, a traveling exhibit, and public events. We Are Water MN helps communities, organizations, and individuals make better, more collaborative, and more relevant choices about water.


We are Water MN is led by the Minnesota Humanities Center in partnership with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, the Minnesota Historical Society, the Minnesota Departments of Agriculture, Health, and Natural Resources, Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources, and the University of Minnesota Extension Water Resources Center. 


We are Water MN is funded in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities and with money from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund that was created with the vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2008.

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