A free Nitrate Testing Clinic is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 18, 9 a.m. to noon in North Branch. Private well owners are encouraged to bring water samples for testing to the Chisago County Household Hazardous Waste Facility, located in the North Brach Industrial Park at 39649 Grand Avenue.
According to Chisago County Water Resource Manager Jerry Spetzman, “homeowners who rely on private wells for their drinking water supply should test for nitrates on a regular basis.”
Nitrates are the most common contaminants in Minnesota’s groundwater, and studies indicate that between 5 percent and 25 percent of the private wells in greater Minnesota have nitrate levels above the federal drinking water standard.
Spetzman notes that “nitrates in drinking water have been shown to have serious health risks. Residents should determine their risks and, in some cases, take appropriate steps to reduce or eliminate nitrates in their drinking water.”
In order to participate in the testing, homeowners must bring at least one-half cup of water in either a clean plastic or glass container. Allow tap water to run three to five minutes before filling the container.
Homeowners with distillators, reverse osmosis or other nitrate removal systems should take two water samples, one before and one after the treatment process.
Samples should be taken no more than 24 hours before the testing, and they must be refrigerated and cool when arriving at the clinic. Only water from private wells will be tested.
To ensure accuracy, homeowners should mark containers with their name, phone number and a well identification number if more than one well is sampled. Participants may remain anonymous by using an easily recognized number or password in lieu of their name. It is not necessary to provide information about the well or well location.
Samples are analyzed on the spot, the process usually takes less than five minutes and results are given directly to the homeowner. If the nitrate level in a sample is elevated, clinic staff can refer the homeowner to certified labs that will retest the water.
For more information, contact: Jerry Spetzman, Chisago County Water Resource Manager, 651-213-8383.