County offers screening for harmful chemicals in drinking waterPublished 10:50am Thursday, July 25, 2013
How much of the potentially harmful nitrate and nitrite chemicals are in your drinking water?
The Berrien County Conservation District and the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) is sponsoring a free water screening from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 30 and July 31 to help you find out. Just bring your water samples to the Berrien Conservation District Office at 3334 Edgewood Road, Berrien Springs.
Samples from drinking water wells will be screened for nitrate and nitrite, which can come from several sources, including fertilizers and septic tanks.
Suzanne Forraht, MEAP technician, said high levels of the substance could be dangerous, especially for young children.
“It’s a good thing to test for especially if you have infants in the home,” she said.
The Berrien Conservation District offers the test annually.
Municipalities test for it regularly. Forraht said a nitrate/nitrite content of 10 parts per million is the most that is allowable in municipality water supplies. About five percent of water samples tested contain higher-than-acceptable levels of nitrate/nitrate, she said.
The screening is open for everyone who uses a personal well for drinking water. Forms should be filled out in advance and are available at the Conservation District office or online at www.berriencd.org. You may also fill out a form when you arrive.
This screening is not for public water wells, which are tested regularly. Only drinking water from private wells will be tested.
Here’s how to test:
• Use a tap that supplies water that has not run through any treatment devices. An outdoor faucet often works well.
• Run the water for 20-30 minutes before collecting the sample. Do not sample through a hose. Rinse the sample bottle and lid thoroughly in the water to be sampled. Any clean small jar will work. One ounce of water is enough.
• Label the bottle with your name, date and the well name using a waterproof pen.
• Keep the sample dark and cold (on ice or refrigerated) until it is dropped off.
For more information, contact the district office at (269) 471-9111 ext. 121, go online at www.berriencd.org or email email@example.com.