How to Test Your Well Water

If you get your drinking water from a private well, it's important to regularly

test that well water for common contaminants in Minnesota groundwater.

These contaminants can lead to short and long-term health effects, and you can't

really taste smell or see the contaminants in your water. Testing is

really the only way to know if they're there. We recommend you test your well

water every year for coliform bacteria and every other year for nitrates. These

levels can change over time. We also recommend testing for arsenic

and lead at least once, especially if your well was constructed before 2008. If

you have a baby who will drink the water, it's important to also test for

manganese. Get your water tested if someone comes and works on your well or

if you notice a change in taste, smell, or color of your well water. And finally

if a baby will drink the well water, get your water tested. To get started with

testing, contact your local public health or environmental services and ask if

they have any well testing programs or recommendations of laboratories to

contact. You can find an accredited laboratory through the Minnesota

Department of Health website. Once you contact the laboratory, they'll provide

you with sample bottles and instructions on how to collect the sample. Make sure

that you collect the sample from the faucet that you get your drinking water

from. And be sure to not touch the inside of the bottle or the water that's going

into the bottle. Follow the instructions closely that the laboratory sends you

for collecting the sample and also for returning the sample. The lab will send

you a report with the results. And if you have any questions about what the

results mean or what steps you should take next, you can contact the Minnesota

Department of Health.