Due to the overwhelming interest in water test kits, the Land and Resource Management Department will make water test kits available to the public beginning Sept. 8, according to an Otter Tail County news release. The water test kits test private drinking wells for coliform bacteria, arsenic, nitrate-nitrogen and lead. The test results and a report are returned to the resident via RMB Environmental Laboratories of Detroit Lakes.

The Minnesota Department of Health reminds residents that “as a private well owner, you are responsible for regularly testing the water you use for cooking and drinking to make sure it is safe.” MDH recommends that coliform bacteria, nitrate, arsenic, lead and manganese. if a baby will drink the water, be tested for. Testing for all the contaminants is especially important if babies or young children drink the water.

The County is a test kit pick up and drop off location only.

Drop off and pick up information:

  • Please return the kit to the same location where you picked up the kit.
  • Completed kits will be picked up by a courier and sent to the lab.
  • Courier pick up dates are Monday-Thursday at 9:45 a.m. The coliform bacteria test is time-sensitive and must be collected on the same day that it is delivered to the lab. Any sample dropped off after 9:45 a.m. will be rejected by the laboratory for quality control purposes.
  • Water test kits will not be accepted after 9:45 a.m. or on Fridays.
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There is a fee for the testing service and the fees are paid directly to the lab. Checks must be made out to RMB Labs. The coliform bacteria and nitrate-nitrogen tests are combined in one sample for $20; for homes built before 1972 a lead test for $20 is recommended; the arsenic test is $20; or $60 for all four tests. The results and report will be sent directly to the resident who assumes responsibility for any recommended mitigation.

Please follow the collection instructions provided with the kits. To collect a sample MDH, recommends you test water from a faucet used for cooking and drinking and that if the water is treated, test the water after it goes through treatment, according to the release.

Once results are received, visit the MDH website for information on what results mean and the next steps to protect the household’s health at health.state.mn.us/communities/environment/water/wells/waterquality/tips.html.

More information:

Visit the Land and Resource webpage at ottertailcountymn.us/private-well-water-test-kits/ or by calling 218-998-8095.