Water Testing

Testing Your Well Water


Safe drinking water is important to your health, but how can you tell if your well provides safe water? Public water systems are tested regularly, but if you have a private well, regular testing is up to you. To assure safe drinking water, the Minnesota Department of Health recommends the following:
  • First, make sure that your well is located, maintained, and constructed properly
  • Test your water anytime your well is serviced, or you notice a change in taste, color or odor
  • Regular water testing should be conducted as follows.
 
 Protect your health - Test for:
  Coliform Bacteria:  Test Every Year
* Nitrate:  Annually or Every 2 years 
  Arsenic: At Least once
  Lead At Least once
* Manganese: Before a baby drinks the water
  *For Nitrates & Manganese, always test before giving to an infant and anyone in your house that becomes pregnant.  Testing is even more important if young children drink the water (Safe Drinking Water For Your Baby).


Depending on where you live may also be a factor to consider when testing your water. For example, manganese is a naturally occurring element found in drinking water across Minnesota, and has recently been found to cause neurological problems, especially in infants over time. For more information on manganese, click on the following link: Manganese in Drinking Water.

Over 25 percent of the new wells constructed in Blue Earth County since August of 2008 have tested over the federal standard of 10 parts per billion (ppb).  Arsenic occurs naturally in rocks and soil across Minnesota and can dissolve into groundwater.  Consuming water with even low levels of arsenic over a long time is associated with diabetes and increased risk of cancers of the bladder, lungs, liver, and other organs.   Unfortunately, there is no way to know the arsenic level in ground water before a well is drilled. Arsenic levels can also vary between nearby wells in a small area. Testing your well for arsenic at least once so you know how much arsenic is in your drinking water is recommended so that you can make an informed decision about whether to take further action. More information about arsenic can be found on the Minnesota Department of Health's website.  

For more information on water quality, well testing, and well disinfection, go to the Minnesota Department of Health's website by clicking on: Water Quality - Well Testing & Disinfection.