Only 1% of the water on Earth is useable, 99% of which is groundwater. Groundwater is water found under the ground in the cracks and spaces in soil, sand and rock. Approximately 70% of Wisconsin uses groundwater for drinking. The Lincoln County Health Department would like to use this year’s National Groundwater Awareness Week, March 11-17, to remind well owners to test their water every year to prevent illness caused by bad water. “This year’s theme, Test, Tend, and Treat is a reminder of how to keep our private water supply clean and pure,” says Meghan Williams, Lincoln County Registered Environmental Health Specialist.
Test: Well water should be tested each year for bacteria and nitrates. Most bacteria will not make healthy people sick, but may indicate a problem in the well. The presence of certain strains, can lead to health issues. A present result of bacteria or high nitrate levels means that there is a weak spot in the water system.
Tend: Tend to well systems by keeping toxins away from where they could leak into wells. Have a well professional check for areas within your system that could lead to problems and perform any maintenance necessary.
Treat: Treat water if necessary. If contamination cannot be taken care of by maintenance or by removing toxins further away from the well, treating the water system may be the best or only option.
Lincoln County Health Department has a certified water lab for testing drinking water. The lab has bacteria and nitrate testing capabilities. Special sampling bottles that must be used for water testing are ready for pick-up at the Lincoln County Health Department, 607 N. Sales Street Suite 101, Merrill, Monday-Friday 8:00am-4:30pm. Water samples should be taken the same day as they are brought in for testing and can be dropped off at the Lincoln County Health Department, Monday-Wednesday from 8:30am-3:30pm.