Free nitrate screening offered to private well owners in Rupert September 28
Wednesday, September 25, 2019
RUPERT—The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) will offer a free nitrate screening for private well owners at Minidoka Memorial Hospital (1224 Eighth St.) Sept. 28 from 8 a.m. to noon.
Nitrate is the most widespread contaminant in Idaho ground water. It is a chemical form of nitrogen found naturally in small amounts in soil and ground water. However, 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 occur.
Drinking water that contains high levels of nitrate is especially dangerous for infants under the age of six months, unborn children, and adults with low stomach acidity.
To participate in the free screening, well owners are advised to do the following on the morning of Sept. 28:
- 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.
- Locate a clean glass jar and lid or Ziploc bag to collect the water sample. Label the outside with your name or address, date, and well name (garden well, house well, etc.).
- Allow the water to run five to 10 minutes to empty the pressure tank so water comes directly from the aquifer. Doing so will lead to more accurate results.
- Fill the container with approximately one cup of water.
- Keep the sample cool. DEQ will dip a test strip into the water, which will indicate if nitrate is present.
For information about free online classes and webinars offered for well owners nationwide, visit www.privatewellclass.org.