Free nitrate testing will be offered by the Crow Wing County Land Services Department, in association with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, at the Crow Wing County Fair from July 31-Aug. 4 in the Land Services-Natural Resources Building.
The free testing is offered for residents of Crow Wing County and surrounding areas.
The test takes a matter of seconds and will be conducted by land services staff. For best results, a one-cup sample should be taken after running the tap for several minutes and before any filtering is done. A disposable bottle or container should be used to collect the sample in case county staff is unable to run the test right away. In that case, the results will be sent to the landowner. Participants are also encouraged to bring the unique well number which can be found on the well and the approximate depth of the well.
Nitrates are a common contaminant found in many wells in Minnesota. Too many nitrates in drinking water may cause serious health problems for young infants, including “blue baby syndrome” (or methemoglobinemia). Nitrates in the environment come from decomposition of plants and animal wastes. People also add nitrates to the environment in the form of fertilizers. Although natural nitrate levels in Minnesota are generally quite low, elevated levels are often found in agricultural areas where nitrate sources are often concentrated. Nitrates are tasteless and odorless, so routine testing is important, especially for landowners with shallow wells. If high nitrate levels are detected, landowners will be directed to a certified lab for further analysis.
Groundwater protection is one of the six priorities of the Crow Wing County Water Plan. Most of Crow Wing County’s residents rely on groundwater for their source of drinking water. More information may be obtained by contacting the environmental services office at 824-1125 or firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss land use and water protection activities. Crow Wing County information and resources may be found at www.co-crow-wing.mn.us.