Private well owners, public water suppliers, cities, counties, agencies and anyone else interested in having their water tested for bacteria can now do so. The Fillmore SWCD has been certified by the Minnesota Department of Health to test for E. coli in wastewater, sewage sludge, and ambient water and E. coli and Total Coliform in drinking water. The Colilert Quanti-Tray method, which is approved by the Environmental Protection Agency, will be used to determine bacteria levels.
Bacteria has the ability to cause severe illness, and any water containing bacteria should not be consumed. Two primary sources of bacteria include human waste (i.e. - failing septic systems) and animal waste (i.e. - surface water runoff from feedlots and manure applied fields). If you are a private well owner it's recommended to have your drinking water tested annually for bacteria.
Samples bottles are available, for purchase, at the SWCD office and at the Fillmore County Zoning Office. Instructions included with each bottle enable you to collect your own sample from home. All samples must be returned to the SWCD office within 24 hours after sampling! Samples need to be analyzed within 24 hours of collection to satisfy standards and ensure accuracy. Samples should be transported on ice, and kept in the refrigerator prior to transportation. Sample pick-ups may be arranged depending on location and availability of staff. Pick-ups need to be scheduled in advance.
The cost for one bacteria test is $25.00. There is a reduced rate of $10.00 if there is a pregnant female or a child under the age of one residing in the household. Test results will be mailed within one to two weeks of analysis.
If you have any questions regarding bacteria testing, or would like to learn more, contact Jennifer Ronnenberg at the Fillmore SWCD office at (507) 765-3878 ext. 3.