What's in your water? Free well-water testing in Ponsford, Callaway, Detroit Lakes Aug. 18-20

The water screening clinics testing for nitrates and chlorides are courtesy of the nonprofit Minnesota Well Owners Organization.

Presence of nitrates in drinking water can cause a variety of long- and short-term effects. Infants are at a particularly strong risk (for blue baby syndrome) as well as pregnant women, chronically ill and the elderly with some cases resulting in death.
Photographer:Wladimir Bulgar/luchschenF -

Area well owners have three opportunities next week for free water testing and the chance to consult with local water professionals.

They are:

  • 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Aug. 18 at the Pine Point Community Center, 48624 280th St., Powwow Highway, Ponsford.
  • 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Aug. 19, at the White Earth Land Recovery Project, (old school building), 607 Main Ave, Callaway.
  • 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Aug. 20 at MANNA Food Coop, 823 Washington Ave, Detroit Lakes.

The free water screening clinics testing for nitrates and chlorides are courtesy of the Minnesota Well Owners Organization, in cooperation with the Minnesota Groundwater Association, Toxic Taters, Pesticide Action Network, Northern Water Alliance and the University of Minnesota Regional Sustainability Development Partnership.
According to a news release, the nonprofit Minnesota Well Owners Organization and its partners are holding the testing events because “We care about water quality impacts on public health, and we hear too many concerns about private wells and our local drinking water. Screening your drinking water for nitrates and chlorides is the first step to assuring safe water at your kitchen sink.”

The free nitrate testing clinics “are the best way to protect your water and your family’s health,” according to the news release. “You cannot assume your water quality; you need a reliable test. MNWOO’s partners can help you to understand what your water tests mean, and what to do next to make sure your drinking water is clean and safe.”

So far 80-90% of the water tests at the free testing clinics show no nitrate problems, according to the news release. “We encourage those with low nitrates to be grateful for your good water and to continue to keep your drinking water pure. For those of you with higher nitrates, MNWOO’s non-profit mission is to help make sure you have safe water at your kitchen sink.”


To participate in the covid-safe water clinics, bring at least a cup of water in a clean glass or plastic container. If you have a water treatment system, take two samples, one from untreated water and one from your sink.

“We will ask you to fill out a short survey about your water, your well and your water treatment, so if you can, take a picture of your well and treatment system, because it helps us to advise you,” the news release states.

“Your sample will be collected and analyzed while you wait, then our water experts will be available to discuss your test results and will gladly answer your questions and devise a quick safe water plan that makes sure your family stays healthy.”

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