Protecting Public Health and the Environment.

Free nitrate testing offered to private well owners at Gooding health fair on May 20

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

GOODING — Is your well water safe to drink? Public water systems are monitored for harmful contaminants regularly, but if you own your well, this responsibility falls to you.

The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) will offer free nitrate screening and sample bottles for lab testing to private well owners at the North Canyon Medical Center Health Fair on Saturday, March 20, from 7 to 11 a.m., 267 N. Canyon Drive in Gooding.

As the most widespread contaminant in Idaho ground water, nitrate is a chemical form of nitrogen found naturally in small amounts in soil and ground water, but some land use practices and human activities may increase nitrate in ground water to dangerous levels. In areas with shallow depths to ground water, sandy soils, fractured bedrock, or shallow wells, nitrate contamination can easily occur.

Drinking water that contains high levels of nitrate is especially dangerous for infants under 6 months, unborn children, and adults with low stomach acidity.

Well owners are advised to take the following steps on the morning of March 20:

  • Identify a source that is not connected to a treatment device (water softener, carbon filter, or other filtration system). An outside faucet or hydrant works best.
  • Use a clean glass jar and lid or Ziploc bag to collect the water sample. Label the outside with your name or address, and date.
  • Allow the water to run 5-10 minutes to empty the pressure tank so water comes directly from the aquifer, which leads to more accurate results.
  • Fill the container with approximately one cup of water.
  • Keep the sample cool. DEQ will test the water and provide the results to you.

For more information, contact Irene Nautch at DEQ's Twin Falls Regional Office at (208) 736-2190 or e-mail For free online classes and webinars offered to well owners nationwide, visit

Media Contact

Drinking Water Protection Coordinator
Irene Nautch
DEQ Twin Falls Regional Office
650 Addison Avenue West, Suite 110
Twin Falls, ID 83301
(208) 736-2190

Related Pages

Private Wells

Nitrate in Ground Water