Groundwater Awareness Week Remindful of Annual Checks

Posted in: US Water News, Water Contamination, Water Education
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(Photo credit: Cate Gillon, Getty Images)

Article courtesy of  |March 9, 2015 | SCTimes | Shared as educational material

Last week was National Consumer Protection Week. On Monday, the Minnesota Department of Health sent out a series of tips and facts to keep in mind as National Groundwater Awareness Week kicks off.

Properly maintaining wells that tap into groundwater is critical for protecting personal health and the state’s water resources. As a result, National Groundwater Awareness Week was established more than two decades ago to bring attention to the important role groundwater plays in the health and well-being of people.

MDH recommends well owners take basic steps to maintain their well and protect their drinking water. First, conduct a basic wellhead inspection. Ensure the cap is securely attached and the connection is watertight. Observe the well pipe or casing for cracks or corrosion. Call a licensed well contractor for repairs. And, third, confirm that the conduit for electric service to the well is securely connected to the well cap.

Well owners may want to annually complete basic water testing to ensure safe drinking water. You should test for bacteria (annually or if you notice a change in taste, color or odor), nitrate (every two years, or annually if you are in an area where nitrates are especially prevalent). If you’re a new property owner and haven’t already done so, you should have wells tested for arsenic and lead.

The closest MDH accredited environmental laboratory to St. Cloud is the Traut Water Analysis Lab in Waite Park. You can call the lab at 251-5090 or visit the MDH web site for a list of other facilities.

Finally, unused and unsealed wells are another way contamination can enter your drinking water, the larger groundwater system and they pose a safety hazard. Only licensed well contractors can seal wells in Minnesota, including sand-point wells and large diameter dug wells.

For more on well construction, drinking water quality and well water testing, see the MDH’s Well Management Program. You can also call the MDH district office in St. Cloud at 320-223-7300.

Finally, click here for more about what the state has been doing with more than $19 million in appropriations from the Clean Water Fund since 2010.

If you’ve got concerns about anything you think the Times On Your Side investigative team can help you with, please let us know. Contact Kevin Allenspach at 255-8745 or email kallenspach@stcloudtimes.com. You can also call our tip line at 255-8796.

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