On March 25, 2019, residents collected 191 samples from 190 wells throughout Calumet County as part of the County’s annual Private Well Testing Day. Since 2004, the Calumet County Land and Water Conservation Department (LWCD) and the Calumet Groundwater Guardians have sponsored the annual well testing event. The Private Well Testing Day provides an opportunity for residents to sample their drinking water for coliform bacteria, nitrates, and a suite of metals at a reduced cost to homeowners. Two hundred well owners registered for the event.
The program also serves as a reminder that private wells should be sampled regularly. Private well owners are encouraged to sample for coliform bacteria and nitrate every 12-15 months. “Private well owners could think of themselves as mini-water utility personnel,” mentions Dani Santry, Water Resource Specialist for Calumet County. “While public well managers are required to test regularly, a private well owner is responsible for ensuring safe drinking water in the home.”
The 2019 Calumet Groundwater Report and well test results are available online at http://www.co.calumet.wi.us/index.aspx?NID=316. Overall, 23.7% of the wells were unsafe for either coliform bacteria and/or high nitrate. Three wells tested positive for E.coli, and indicator of fecal waste contamination. In karst areas of the county, which are more susceptible to groundwater contamination, 38% of the wells exceeded safe drinking water standards. The report also includes private well data collected in addition to the Private Well Testing Day, including well samples collected from 2005 through April 1, 2019. More information on groundwater susceptibility, private well testing, and what to do if a well is unsafe can be found at http://www.co.calumet.wi.us/index.aspx?NID=208.
This year’s Private Well Testing Day targeted private well owners in the towns of Chilton, Brothertown and Woodville. The 2020 program is county-wide, but will target Charlestown, Chilton, and Stockbridge. If you are interested in participating in next year’s program, or sampling your well now, please contact Dani Santry at Danielle.firstname.lastname@example.org or (920) 849-1493 x2402.