Did you know that Rock County has over 11,000 private wells?

Regulations that protect the public drinking water systems don’t apply to privately owned wells. If you own a private well, you should regularly monitor for any contaminants to ensure the continued safety of your water.

On average, only about 800 Rock County wells are tested each year for bacteria or nitrates. Of those wells, 17% test positive for bacteria and 25% of wells have unsafe levels of nitrates. Annually testing your water is an easy way to identify possible problems and keep your family healthy.

Why should I test my well water annually?

• Bacteria can cause flu-like symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, fever and diarrhea.

• High nitrate levels can cause blue baby syndrome, an oxygen deficiency in the blood.

• Insects such as earwigs can carry bacteria, viruses and pesticides into your well.

When should I test my well water?

• Buying or selling a home

• Changes in taste or odor

• The arrival of a new infant

• Well recently installed or repaired

Testing your well water annually is an easy way to identify possible problems and keep your family healthy.

How do I test my well water?

The Rock County Public Health Department maintains a certified lab that offers multiple water testing services. Water testing kits are available to test private wells.

• Order a kit online by visiting the Rock County Public Health Department website: co.rock.wi.us/publichealth-environmental/publichealth-water-quality/publichealth-health-lab. Shipping and credit card processing fees may apply.

• Request a test kit in person at the Rock County Public Health Department during regular business hours. Bacteria and nitrate tests are $25 each and paid for when the water sample is returned to the health department.

• Kits for additional tests are available through the health department, with testing provided by the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene.

For more information, please call 608-757-5440. Environmental health specialists are available to answer questions, explain test results and help resolve contamination or water quality issues.

Erin Yenser is a health educator for the Rock County Public Health Department. If you would like to ask a health-related question to be answered in a future column, email RCHealthDept@co.rock.wi.us with Healthful Hint in the subject.

The county health department reserves the right not to answer any questions deemed unsuitable. For more information follow us on social media @rockcountyPHD.

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