Private Well Testing
Private well owners, public water suppliers, cities, counties, agencies, and anyone else interested in having their water tested for bacteria can do so at the Fillmore SWCD office.
The Fillmore SWCD Water Quality Laboratory is certified by the Minnesota Department of Health to test for total coliform and E.coli.
If you are a private well owner, it is recommended to have your drinking water tested annually for bacteria.
Bacteria has the ability to cause severe illness, and any water containing bacteria should not be consumed. Identify the contamination source and eliminate it if possible. Disinfect the well and water system, and retest to be sure the water supply is free of bacteria before drinking. Coliform bacteria are living organisms found in the intestines of humans and animals, and also in the soil. Their presence in well water indicates direct contamination by sewage, animals, or surface water. Coliform bacteria are a signal that disease-causing bacteria and viruses may be present.
Sample kits are available for purchase at the Fillmore SWCD office. Instructions included with each kit enable you to collect your own sample from home.
- All samples must be returned to the SWCD office within 24 hours of 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.
Bacteria Test Kit $50
There is a reduced rate of $20.00 if there is a pregnant woman or a child under the age of one residing in the household.
Test results will be e-mailed within 48 hours of analysis, and mailed within 2-4 business days.
Tests that quantify the number of bacteria (FSMA) are $60.00, and it should be noted if this is the type of test requested.
Bacteria samples are accepted:
- Monday 8 am to 3:30 pm
- Tuesday 8 am to 3:30 pm
- Wednesday 8 am to 3:30 pm
- Thursday 8 am to noon.
- No samples will be accepted on Friday.
The Fillmore SWCD Water Quality Laboratory also offers nitrate screening for FREE, year-round. We accept any drinking water or surface water samples; nitrate screening services are NOT restricted to only Fillmore County or State of Minnesota residents.
If you would like your water tested for nitrates, let us know when you pick up your bacteria test kit. Private wells should be tested for nitrates every other year. Nitrate samples must be in a different container from the bacteria sample. Nitrate samples are accepted Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 3:30 pm. Nitrate samples are run in batches; therefore, test results may take up to three weeks; if results are needed sooner, please let staff know so they can plan accordingly.
MDH information about nitrates in drinking water in SE MN
The following handout from the Minnesota Department of Health provides instructions for disinfecting your water system, which includes both the well that has a submersible pump and the associated water distribution system. These instructions can be used for a single family home or businesses such as resorts and campgrounds. Disinfection can eliminate or reduce harmful bacteria, viruses, or other microorganisms that may be found in your drinking water.
Fillmore SWCD District Services