Health & LivingNews

Private wells need to be tested for contaminants at least once a year, every year

Des Moines, Iowa – About a quarter-million Iowans get their drinking water from private wells and having those wells routinely tested for contaminants is vital.

Jamie Benning, water quality program manager for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, says wells should be tested at least once a year and right away if there’s been flooding nearby.


Without proper testing, Benning says you could be exposing yourself to troublesome pollutants and potential health problems.


In young children, high levels of nitrates can cause critical problems with how oxygen moves in the blood, leading to Blue Baby Syndrome, which can be fatal.

Benning says testing the water is relatively simple — and it’s very cheap or even free through your county health department.


With so much flooding across Iowa this year, Benning says any wells that had floodwater nearby should be tested to be on the safe side.


She adds, even if your well and the area around it have remained unchanged, it’s important to test water annually for indicators of contamination.

According to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, more than 75% of Iowans rely on groundwater as their primary source of drinking water, using a combination of private and public wells.


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