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Water is often an out-of-sight, out-of-mind commodity. Cities in Anoka County including Andover, Bethel, Blaine, Centerville, Columbus, East Bethel, Ham Lake, Lino Lakes, Linwood Township, Nowthen, Oak Grove, Ramsey, and St. Francis want residents to start thinking about their drinking water.

As part of the Well Water Wise (3W) program, private well owners are being urged to test their water for coliform bacteria and nitrate nitrogen. While annual tests are recommended, only 470 of the county’s 25,000, or about 0.02% of well owners had their water tested in 2009.

Contamination can cause anything from parasites to stomach aches to cancer. Often, people come forward after an illness that their doctor has linked to drinking water.

In a recent Star Tribune Article, Bart Biernat, a county environmental health specialist said:

“So we have people come in and we ask them, ‘When was the last time you tested your well?’ “And they say, ‘Since we moved in 20 years ago.’ It is the sort of thing where we talk to them and they say, ‘Gee, why didn’t anybody tell me this? I didn’t know I was supposed to test my well.’ ”

Elevated nitrate levels — often caused by fertilizer runoff or human or animal waste — can cause “blue baby syndrome,” a potentially fatal illness in bottle-fed babies. In some studies, long-term exposure has been linked to stomach cancer, Biernat said.

Coliform bacteria, common on the ground but unusual in groundwater, can be an indicator of other, more dangerous contaminants, such as E. coli, also a byproduct of feces in the water. It causes severe stomach illness and can lead to dangerous complications, especially in children.

Those conditions are rare in private wells, Biernat said. But they do happen.

Other tests for arsenic, lead, iron, chloride and total hardness, are also something interested residents should look in to.

Premier Water is a local Twin Cities water treatment company based in Chanhassen, MN. We have helped residents and businesses with private well water problems for over 30 years. We have successfully treated these problems with Backwashing Water Filter Systems, Pureoflow Purification Systems, and under-sink Reverse Osmosis systems.

For more information, please contact us at (952) 479-4553.

The original Star Tribune article can be found here.

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