Private Drinking Water Supply

Safe, clean water is one of the most important substances in our lives – for drinking, cooking, bathing and cleaning. Municipal water systems test their water regularly to ensure it is safe, but it’s up to private well owners to test their well water annually.

When Should I Test My Well Water?

Yearly testing is recommended to help protect and provide quality water. You should also test your water whenever there is a change in taste, odor, or color, or when the system is serviced. Below are some guidelines on when to test.


  • Before children start fluoride supplements

Coliform Bacteria 

  • Annually


  • Newly constructed wells
  • Wells with no testing history
  • Before pregnancy and or at time of birth
  • Annually, if located 1/4 mile from fertilized fields or animal feed lots

How Do I Get a Kit?

Water test kits for bacteria and nitrates are availabe by calling the Lincoln County Health Department at 715-536-0307. The Health Department has a Wisconsin certified water lab for testing drinking water for bacteria and nitrates.

The kit includes supplies and processing. Cost is $20  for one test or $40 for two.


  • Special sterile sampling bottles within the kits must be used for testing.
  • Bacteria water samples should be shipped to or dropped off at the lab the same day they are taken. Samples greater than 24 hours old cannot be tested and must be refused.
  • Samples will only be accepted for testing Monday-Wednesday from 8:30am-3:00pm.

How Do I Sample My Water?

How Do I Get My Results?

Bacteria results will be available within two days and nitrates 2-3 weeks. Results will be mailed to you.

What Do I Do if the Tests Show Problems?

If test results show you have coliform in your well water, a second sample should be taken to confirm the first results. If after re-testing, results still indicate your well water has coliform, contact the laboratory or Lincoln County Health Department at 715-536-0307.

If a high level of nitrate is present in your well, contact a well driller or plumber for assistance.

Useful Links:

Environmental Protection Agency
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

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