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Nitrate kits available for testing

About 2,500 rural residents should watch their mail for a free sample kit to test their drinking water for nitrates.

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has received Clean Water Amendment funds to better understand the issue of nitrates in groundwater in central Minnesota. The University of Minnesota is assisting with the project by sending survey letters and post cards to pre-determined residents residing in the following counties of Becker, Benton, Cass, Crow Wing, Douglas, Hubbard, Kandiyohi, Morrison, Otter Tail, Pope, Sherburne, Stearns, Todd and Wadena. A pre-determined sample grid approach will result in 2,500 private drinking wells being tested. Selected residents will be asked to return general well information and then will receive a free nitrate sample kit to send to a certified lab. Results of the analysis will be sent to residents and used to obtain a look at current nitrate conditions in ground water.

The knowledge gained by having your water tested will not only help protect you and your family, but will also help your county gain a better picture of the presence of nitrates in drinking water. The project is also being sponsored by each of the central Minnesota counties and their county water plan objectives. Nitrates are one of the most common ground water contaminants found in rural areas. Drinking water that is high in nitrates can cause serious health effects in infants and the presence of nitrates may be an indicator of other contaminants in the water.

Organizers ask people to respond to the survey if they receive one. If you have questions or concerns you may contact Kari Tomperi, Wadena County Water planner, at (218) 631-3195, ext. 3, by e-mail at, or mail the Wadena SWCD, 4 Alfred St NE Wadena, MN, 56482.