Berrien County Conservation District offering free well water screenings

BERRIEN SPRINGS — The Berrien Conservation District and the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program will sponsor a free well water screening day from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 16 Friday, Sept. 17. Anyone who wishes to have their well water tested free of charge can bring 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. The screening is open to everyone who uses a personal well for drinking water. Forms should be filled out in advance and are available at the Conservation District office, and online at berriencd.org.

“The service is for private drinking wells only. Public water supplies are regularly tested,” said Dylan Armstrong, of the conservation district. “Please do not bring samples from public water supplies or non-drinking water sources. Only drinking well water samples will be tested. You do not have to use a special bottle for this screening. Any small clean jar will work — one ounce of water is enough. You will not receive your water collection device back.’

Those wishing to have their water tested should follow these instructions before taking them to the sample drop-off. Samples must be less than 48 hours old for a valid nitrate and nitrite result.

  • Fill out the water sample information sheet.
  • Pick a tap that supplies water that has not run through any treatment devices (water softener, carbon filter, etc.)
  • Run the water 20-30 minutes before collecting the sample. This will give the pump time to flush the water pressure tank and plumbing to 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; then fill the bottle.
  • Label the bottle clearly with name, sampling date, and the well name (cottage well, Moms well, house well, etc.) using a waterproof pen.
  • Keep the sample dark and cold (on ice or refrigerated) until it is dropped off.
  • When arriving at the Berrien Conservation District office, place the sample in the cooler filled with cold packs located in the entranceway for contactless drop-off.

“All results are confidential,” Armstrong said. “You will get your results as well as information on what to do should nitrite or nitrates show up in your drinking water.”

For more information from the Berrien Conservation District office, call (269) 471-9111 ext. 3, visit.berriencd.org, or email dylan.armstrong@macd.org.

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