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Free water testing clinic for nitrates at county fair

The Becker Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) will sponsor a free water-testing clinic for nitrate in drinking water on Friday, July 25, from 3-6 p.m. Tests will be conducted by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and Becker SWCD staff. The clinic will be held in the Natural Resources (DNR) Building during the Becker County Fair.

The purpose of the testing is to give the public an opportunity to monitor their drinking water and help raise environmental awareness related to groundwater nitrate contamination. It is estimated that between 5-25 percent of private wells in greater Minnesota have nitrate levels above the federal drinking water standard. Although nitrate is often considered simply an indicator that contamination is reaching a water supply, it presents specific health risks when consumed by infants.

The public is invited to bring clean, Ziploc-type bags filled with a fresh sample of their drinking water. Nitrate tests will be conducted on the spot and analysis usually takes less than five minutes.

If you have a water treatment system other than a water softener, you are welcome to bring samples from before and after treatment to test for nitrate removal.

Before filling the bag, label it with a permanent marker. Allow the water to run 2-3 minutes before collection.