Private wells should be tested for nitrate every two years, according to a press release from the Crow Wing Soil and Water Conservation District.
Nitrate occurs naturally and at safe, healthy levels in some foods (like spinach and carrots) and comes from natural processes, like plant decay.
High nitrate levels in water can be the result of runoff or leakage from fertilized soil, sewage, landfills, animal feedlots, septic systems, or city drainage.
The Environmental Protection Agency recommends that nitrate levels stay below 10 milligrams per liter to be considered safe. Last year, 73 wells were tested in the county, with most results below 2 milligrams per liter of nitrate, according to the news release.
Those interested in testing their wells for free should bring a freshwater sample (taken within a day of testing) in a container that can be left at one of the following testing sites and dates. (A double Ziplock plastic bag or a clean jar works best. Results are not instantaneous.)
To take a sample, run the cold water faucet for five to 10 minutes, then collect about a cup of water. Keep the water cool until the finish. When you drop off the water sample, complete a well depth and location survey to help create a county-wide database of nitrate levels.
Free nitrate testing sites include the following locations and times:
- Crow Wing Land Services Building, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., April 29, 322 Laurel St., Suite 22, Brainerd,
- Jenkins Veterans Park, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., May 6, Highway 371 and Veterans Street, Jenkins,
- Deerwood Auditorium, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., May 14, 21201 Archibald Road, Deerwood,
- Nissan Community Center, 10am-2pm, June 10, 25628 Main St., Nisswa,
- Crosslake Town Hall, 10am-2pm, July 1, 13888 Daggett Bay Road, Crosslake.
People can also test their drinking water for free from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays at the Crow Wing County Land Services Building on Laurel Street in Brainerd. (Go through the entrance doors and descend for an immediate test.)
For more information, contact Ross Brink at 218-828-6197 or [email protected], or visit