Know Your H20!

GroundWater Week 2016Is your water safe to drink? One quarter of Wisconsin’s population drinks water from private wells. March 6-12th is National Groundwater Awareness Week. Most of the U.S. groundwater is safe for human use. However, groundwater contamination can and does happen, so well owners have to be watchful in protecting water supplies. The Lincoln County Health Department encourages private well owners to test their wells annually, or after modifying them in any way to ensure safe drinking water.

Households of both private and public wells can take steps to protect their water. Private well owners can make a difference in their water quality by how they sustain their well. Residents of public water systems can also make a difference by how they store, use, and dispose of hazardous household substances, or how well they maintain their septic systems. Yearly testing and upkeep is recommended to help protect and provide your family with quality water. Knowing your drinking water quality allows you to take steps to protect against groundwater contamination.

For those with private wells:

  • Have your water tested for bacteria and nitrates annually.
  • Have your well system professionally inspected annually.
  • Be current on the cleaning and inspection of your septic system.
  • Keep chemicals, septic tanks, and animal waste away from your well.
  • Dispose of chemicals and motor oil properly.
  • Avoid putting waste chemicals in your septic system.
  • Keep your well records in a safe place, this can include the construction report, annual water well system maintenance and water testing results

Lincoln County Health Department also recommends the following things everyone can do:

  • Use hazardous home and yard chemicals according to the directions and dispose of properly after use.
  • Properly dispose unused medications.
  • Find out how much water your household uses, and then install a water-saving device.
  • Find ways to reduce the amount of water loss excess.

Lincoln County Health Department is a certified water lab for testing drink water. The lab has bacteria and nitrates testing capabilities. Special sampling bottles that must be used for water testing are available for pick-up at the Lincoln County Health Department, 607 N. Sales Street Suite 101, Merrill WI, Monday-Friday 8:00am-4:30pm. Drinking 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.

To test for other substances in your water, such as pesticides or arsenic, you can contact one of the following: Marathon County Health Department at 715-261-1900 or the Wisconsin State Lab of Hygiene at 608-224-6202 or 800-442-4618. To test for radon, contact the Lincoln County Health Department at 715-536-0307. The cost of the kit depends on what is being tested. Please call 715-536-0307 for more information.

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