The Barry Conservation District will screen private water well samples if they are dropped off at the Ionia Conservation District office, 1611 South Hanover Street in Hastings on July 15 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
There is no fee for the service and all results are confidential. The screening is open to everyone who uses a personal well for drinking water. A one-ounce sample of water in any small, clean jar is sufficient.
To collect a good water sample:
* Collect samples just before bringing them to drop-off. Samples must be less than 48 hours old for a valid nitrate test.
* Fill out the water sample information sheet. The form will be available when samples are dropped off. A printable form is available at www.barrycd.org.
* Pick a tap that supplies water that has not run through any treatment devices (water softener, carbon filter, etc.). An outdoor faucet often works well.
* Run the water for 20 to 30 minutes before collecting the sample to give the pump time to flush the water pressure tank and plumbing so you can collect a valid sample. Disconnect any hoses before collecting the sample; do not sample through a hose. Rinse the sample bottle and lid thoroughly in the water to be sampled, and then fill and cap the bottle.
* Using a waterproof pen, label the bottle clearly with your name, sampling date and well name (cottage well, mom's well ). Put the sample information sheet into a waterproof bag, and then seal the water sample and the information page into a second waterproof bag.
* Keep the sample dark and cold, on ice or refrigerated, until it is dropped off. //
There is a limit of three samples per household. Participants will be mailed a copy of results in eight to 10 weeks, with information on what they can do if the concentration of nitrate or nitrite is too high.
The service is for private drinking water wells only. Do not bring samples from public water supplies as these are already tested regularly, or non-drinking water sources.
Major sources of high nitrate levels are runoff or leaching from fertilizer use, sewage leaking from septic tanks and erosion of natural deposits in the aquifer. When high nitrates enter the blood, its ability to carry oxygen can be severely and negatively impacted. This condition can be especially dangerous in young babies less than 6 months old, pregnant women and those with conditions that impact their blood’s ability to carry oxygen
For more information, or copies of submission forms, contact the Barry Conservation District at (269) 908-4135.