Water Testing

The DNR recommends that if you have a private well you test your water once a year for bacteria and nitrates.

Nitrates are formed when nitrogen combines with oxygenated water. Nitrates come from fertilizers, manure, naturally occurs in plants and vegetables, septic systems, and municipal sewage sludge. 

A child that is exposed to an increased amount of nitrates is also at risk for a serious condition called “blue-baby syndrome” or methemoglobinemia. This condition is due to a lack of oxygen which causes the skin to have a bluish-gray appearance. Other risks include thyroid disease, diabetes, and certain cancers.

Water should be checked regularly and the levels of nitrates should be under 10 mg/L as recommended by the EPA.

For more information on the process of removing nitrates in water please visit the websites listed below.

http://extension.psu.edu/natural-resources/water/drinking-water/water-testing/pollutants

http://www.usbr.gov/pmts/water/publications/reportpdfs/Primer Files/07 - Electrodialysis.pdf



Buffalo County Health Department provides testing for both bacteria and nitrates for private well owners.  Visit our Water Lab for more information.


Buffalo County offers fee exempt water testing for any household under 150% of the federal poverty level with a pregnant woman, a child under 6 months of age, a breastfeeding mother, or a WIC Program client.  These tests are sent to and tested at the State Lab of Hygiene.

Resources:
DNR Groundwater Information
Nitrate Brochure