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La Crosse County Health Department encourages private well owners to get water tested

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) – The La Crosse County Health Department staff will be at the West Salem Library for water collection on Tuesday, Aug. 20, from 4 to 7 p.m.

The water collected will be tested for contaminants of harmful bacteria, fecal matter, arsenic, metals and nitrate. The test is geared toward those who live outside of the county and rely on private well water.

Health Department educators found that many people who live out of the county are unable to make it to the health department during their normal weekday business hours.

“For a private well owner, nobody will do that for you, so it’s up to you to get that done. To make sure that it doesn’t have any contaminants in there, because a lot of the time there is no smell.. the water probably tastes good and you can’t tell. The only way to tell is to have a test,” La Crosse County Health Educator Maichor Lee said.

According to a new study, many private wells in southwestern Wisconsin are contaminated with bacteria and fecal matter. Drinking that water can cause major health risks. For that reason, the La Crosse County Health Department urges private well owners to take advantage of the opportunity.

Water testing kits are available for pick up at the La Crosse County Health Department, West Salem Village Hall, Barre Town Hall, Village of Bangor, and the West Salem Library. The testing kits come with a bottle. Then, you simply fill it with your tap water and return it to the West Salem Library. The testing kits cost varies with the type of test that you get. A bacteria and nitrate test is $27. An arsenic test is $29 and a metals test, including arsenic, is $96.

The La Crosse County Health Department suggests that private well owners should try to have their well water tested annually. They also suggest to not rely on your neighbor’s well water test results. Levels can vary from house to house. If your well water tests are above the levels they should be, contact the health department about water treatment options, well repair and well replacement.


Abigail Moore

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