Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Select Dakota County well owners to receive free water testing kits

Private well owners in select areas of Dakota County will soon receive a free water testing kit to help determine if the water is safe for drinking.


The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) and Dakota County are trying to learn more about the occurrence of nitrate and manganese in private drinking water wells to better protect local families from an excess of the contaminants.


Minnesota Valley Testing Lab will mail free test kits to private well owners in Empire, Eureka, Greenvale, and Ravenna townships, as well as the cities of Farmington and Rosemount. Well owners who participated in last year's MDA/Dakota County nitrate testing program will also receive kits to verify their previous results, and may be contacted by MDA for pesticide testing of their water.


There is no charge for the nitrate testing. Results are private and will be mailed back to well owners. Too much nitrate in drinking water can cause serious problems in infants and may indicate other contaminants. Nitrate in groundwater also seeps into nearby rivers and streams, where it may feed dangerous algae blooms. In Dakota County, portions of the Vermillion River have seen significant increases in nitrate levels.


This year, in addition to nitrate, Dakota County is offering free manganese testing of private wells. Manganese is a naturally occurring element that, at high levels, can be unhealthy for infants and young children. MDA provided Dakota County with a grant of $75,768 from Clean Water, Land, and Legacy Amendment funds for the nitrate portion of the testing.


For more information, call Dakota County Groundwater Protection's Jill Trescott at 952-891-7019.

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