If you live in Jackson, Louisville, Sand Creek, or St. Lawrence Townships, you should have received a nitrate test kit in the mail. Homeowners in these townships received the free test kit to identify the nitrate level in their drinking water. If you received a kit and have not yet sent it in, it is not too late! Kits need to be sent in by August 1 at the latest. Landowners are strongly encouraged to participate because the compiled test results will help the MDA focus on areas with high nitrate levels for future groundwater protection efforts. Similar nitrate testing is being done in other vulnerable areas throughout Minnesota.
Nitrate moves easily carried by water through the unique soils and geology in this area. This puts well water in this area vulnerable to nitrate contamination. The kits are from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA), with the goal of identifying areas that are susceptible to high nitrate levels. Individual results are sent back to the landowner with information on what different levels of nitrate mean.
Nitrate can be found naturally at low levels in groundwater. Sewage disposal, livestock manure, and nitrogen fertilizer can all be sources of added nitrate. Increased levels of nitrate in drinking water can cause serious health effects in infants. The nitrate testing is funded by the Minnesota Clean Water Fund, and more information can be found at www.mda.state.mn.us/townshiptesting. If you have questions, please contact the Scott SWCD at 952-492-5425.