COVID-19 Notice »

Water Testing

Countryside Public Health recommends contacting a certified water lab for a test kit and testing instructions

Listing of Certified Labs in Minnesota Accepting Samples from Private Well Owners


Common Water Tests for Drinking Water Safety and Quality (Check with your testing laboratory to make sure chosen tests are available)

Coliform Bacteria - are found in soils and animal and human wastes. Therefore, the presence of coliform in water may indicate contamination from a sewer, septic system, wastewater application, or animal yard.  These bacteria may cause disease themselves or indicate that other harmful organisms may be present in the water. Diseases such as typhoid fever, cholera, infectious hepatitis, dysentery, or giardiasis can be transmitted by contaminated water.  Coliform bacteria should be absent in drinking water. Well Disinfection

Escherichia Coli (E.coli) Bacteria is found in human and animal intestines and waste. It is used as an indicator of fecal contamination of the water supply.  E coli bacteria is more likely to cause illness and its' presence indicates that other disease causing organisms may be present. E coli bacteria should be absent in drinking water.

Nitrate Nitrogen in drinking water higher than 10 parts per million (ppm) should not be consumed by anybody.  Infants under six months of age are most susceptible and excessive levels of nitrates can cause a serious anemic condition known as "blue baby syndrome".  Do not boil the water since boiling will only increase the concentration of nitrates in the water. Additional information.

Iron - greater than 0.3 parts per million will cause staining to fixtures and clothing

Hardness- in excess of 4 grains can dry out the skin and cause scaling in pipes.

Sulfates - though not a health concern, may cause diarrhea in some persons whose systems are not adapted to the sulfates.  Symptoms may occur at levels lower than the recommended 250 milligrams per liter.

Arsenic - Required test for all new water wells in the State of Minnesota. Arsenic can be naturally occurring in drinking water or can result from human activites. The federal drinking water standard for Arsenic is 10 micrograms per liter which equals one part per billion.  Arsenic in Minnesota's Well Water (MDH)

Lead - Lead is a common metal that has been used over the years in many consumer products. It can still be found in lead-based paint, some imported consumer products, and, under some conditions in air, soil, household dust, pottery, food, plumbing pipes and components, and drinking water. If it is inhaled or swallowed, lead can build up in the body over time. The Federal standard set by the Environmental Protection Agency is 15 parts per billion or less for all drinking water. Lead in Well Water Systems


Other Links: