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Nitrate Water Screening for Private Well Owners 

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.

To keep your drinking water safe, have your well tested annually for nitrate. Once a year, the Stearns County SWCD partners with the Minnesota Groundwater Association (MNGWA) and Minnesota Well Owners Organization (MNWOO) and other partners to provide free nitrate and chloride water screening for households that rely on their own private wells. 

More information on what to test your well for

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). 

 

Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) recommends:

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Resources 

MN Department of Agriculture: www.mda.state.mn.us/water-testing-nitrate

MN Department of Health (nitrates): www.health.state.mn.us/communities/environment/water/wells/waterquality/nitrate.html

MN Department of Health (water quality/well testing/well disinfection): www.health.state.mn.us/communities/environment/water/wells/waterquality/index.html

Well Owner's Handbook - A Consumer's Guide to Water Wells in Minnesota: www.health.state.mn.us/communities/environment/water/docs/wells/construction/handbook.pdf

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