Groundwater Awareness Week: March 10-16

Just as you check your furnace or smoke detector batteries seasonally, spring is a good season to have an annual water well checkup, according to the National Ground Water Association (NGWA) and Lincoln County Health Department.
Yearly testing and maintenance are recommended to help protect and provide quality water. This is usually less costly than emergency maintenance and good well maintenance – like good car maintenance – can extend the life of your well. You should also test your water whenever there is a change in taste, odor, or color, or when the system is serviced.
Wells can provide high-quality drinking water but there is a responsibility to keep the water well in good working order. A check of your well by a qualified water well contractor may include:
• A flow test to determine system output, along with a check of the water level before and during pumping (if possible), pump motor performance (check amp load, grounding, and line voltage), pressure tank and pressure switch contact, and general water quality (odor, cloudiness, etc.).
• A well equipment inspection to assure it’s sanitary and meets local code.
• A test of your water for coliform bacteria and nitrates, and anything else of local concern.
Lincoln County Health Department also recommends well owners to keep water safe several ways:
• Keep chemicals, septic tanks and animal waste away from your well.
• Dispose of chemicals and motor oil properly.
• Don’t put waste chemicals in your septic system.
• Limit your use of lawn and garden chemicals.
• Keep the area around your well clean.
• 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 sells water test kits to test for bacteria, nitrates and fluoride in private wells. 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, University of Steven’s Point at 715-346-3209, or the Wisconsin State Lab of Hygiene at 608-224-6202 or 800-442-4618. To test for radon, contact the University of Steven’s Point at 715-346-3209 or the Wisconsin State Lab of Hygiene at 608-224-6202 or 800-442-4618.
The cost of the kit depends on what is being tested. To purchase a water test kit at the Lincoln County Health Department, stop by at 607 N. Sales St., Merrill or call 715-536-0307 for more information.

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