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Water Testing Clinic For Private Wells

The third and last in a series of public events took place on June 5th at Hastings City Hall, bringing a water testing clinic to people in Dakota County who own private wells. The test which was performed on water samples brought in by approximately 60 Dakota County residents was for the purpose of determining the level of nitrates found in those wells. Of top concern is the health indications that have been set forth by the MNDH in the level acceptable for drinking water used by infants under 6 months of age and nursing mothers. Public water supplies are regularly tested for more than 100 contaminants that may include bacteria, nitrate, pesticides, solvents and metals.
Those samples are collected with results conveyed to municipal water suppliers such as a city’s public works department. Those with private wells are responsible for testing their own drinking water. This can be done anytime by contacting a county health program which recommends testing your well water for coliform bacteria every year, nitrates every 2-3 years and arsenic at least once. Farming practices including the use of fertilizers and pesticides, large scale animal farms and irrigation and drainage systems can have a significant effect on those levels.
The data from the three public events will be collated and provided to the public as well as to the Dakota County Board of Directors as they continue to determine a Groundwater Plan update that will use the data to set goals and guidelines to better address watershed management, stormwater management, shoreland and floodplain regulation and Byllesby Dam administration and management affecting 13 townships and 5 cities in the County.
The plan was last updated in 2014 and at that time showed that more than 50% of private wells showed elevated levels of nitrates. Some changes can be expected as some of those wells have since been capped, but many more continue to use filtering systems to mitigate the impact of nitrates and other contaminants found in well water. The completed report should be made available by the end of this summer and will be reported to the County Board for it’s inclusion in the Groundwater Plan revision.

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