Monday, March 24, 2014
Rural well owners should test their well water for bacteria and
nitrates each year, a hydrologist advised Illinois Farm Bureau's
Conservation and Natural Resources Strength With Advisory Team
(SWAT). The SWAT teams help identify, surface, and research
emerging issues in agriculture, and then help guide IFB on the
issues they are focused on.
The Conservation and Natural Resources SWAT team deals with
issues related to environmental regulations, conservation programs,
forestry, and more. Recently, Steven Wilson, with the Illinois
State Water Survey, answered team members' questions about rural
well water testing and discussed a free online class (see
Most local health departments can test well water for coliform
bacteria and nitrates.
Coliform bacteria do not usually cause disease, but their
presence indicates contaminants entered the well and harmful
disease organisms may be present, according to the Illinois
Department of Public Health (IDPH). When coliform bacteria are
found in well water, the water should be boiled before being used
for drinking or cooking and the well should be disinfected.
High nitrate levels may be caused by septic systems or
contamination from manure or nitrogen applications near the well.
Well water containing nitrate levels above the maximum contaminant
level established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
should not be given to infants younger than six months.
Well owners wanting more extensive tests for chemicals, metals
and contaminants need to work with a private laboratory.
The Illinois Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program
accredits laboratories for chemical analysis, while IDPH accredits
laboratories for microbiological analysis.
For a list of accredited labs, visit the Environmental Protection Agency.
More information about water testing is available from your
local health department or the IDPH at 217-782-5830.
Content provided by FarmWeek - Kay Shipman
For More Info Contact:
Click here for a list of accredited laboratories.
Click here to go to their website.
Click here to learn more about the Stength with
Advisory Teams at IFB.
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