Well water nitrate testing to be offered at Wausaukee fair

WAUSAUKEE, Wis. — Marinette County residents have the opportunity to bring a sample of their well water and have the nitrate quantity analyzed free of charge during this year’s Marinette County Fair.

The fair runs Thursday through Sunday, Aug. 26, at the fairgrounds in Wausaukee.

Scott Reuss, UW-Extension agriculture agent, will be conducting this free service at the UW-Extension exhibit located in the eastern portion of the main exhibit building.

Samples should be collected and transported in a sealed, clean container, although type of container should not affect the test values. Bring at least one cup of drinking water, preferably collected prior to any in-home treatment systems affecting it. The testing process takes only a few minutes to complete.

The accompanying display will have maps showing past well water test results in Marinette County, the geology of the county that creates risk, and other information regarding various water quality concerns that homeowners may have.

Nitrates are very commonly found in the ground water in Marinette County due to sandy native soils. Even natural state water can register having nitrates present, but human activities tend to lead to increasing nitrate content in ground water, with shallow wells or sand points having a much higher chance of seeing elevated levels.

Nitrate levels up to 10 parts per million are not considered to be harmful. Above 10 ppm, it is possible for infants and those with certain health conditions to experience health problems directly related to oxygen transport problems in the body.

Nitrates can become elevated to potentially dangerous levels due to nitrogen fertilizer leaching through the soil, septic systems, manure application, and other potential issues. It is always a good idea to know your well’s nitrate level and be able to manage it if it is elevated.

Please make sure that your name and contact information are on the sample container if you are dropping it off and not staying for the test process, or in case. Staff will be present in this alternate office from noon to 10 p.m. Thursday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

Normal UW-Extension hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 715-732-7510, or you can contact them via web page at http://marinette.uwex.edu/.