Water Testing

Coliform Bacteria and Nitrates are the most common forms of contamination found in private water wells. Water tests through the Grants To Counties Program are FREE, and our staff will take the sample and mail it in for you. We will make recommendations on how you can correct the problem if your well is contaminated. Tests for lead and other contaminants can also be arranged on a request basis.

The Grant-To-Counties Well Testing Program continues at a steady pace. The comparative well testing results for the last several years are charted below. As indicated, the wells tested in Carroll and Crawford Counties are higher than the state average in contamination with Coliform Bacteria and Nitrates. Crawford County is significantly higher. One of the major factors in well water contamination is the construction of the well. Crawford County also has a high percentage of large diameter shallow wells. Our staff makes every effort to determine the source of contamination for unacceptable test results, and then work with the well owner to make necessary corrections to ensure a safe drinking water supply.

Percentage of Contaminated Water Samples Statewide

Unsafe Coliform Bacteria*

Unsafe Nitrates**


                                                                Carroll County                                           Crawford County

Year 2001 Data is for six months only

Data compiled by the U.S. Geological Survey Bureau

Based on test results from the Grant-To-Counties Program

Total Coliform bacteria testing provide an indication of the bacteriological quality of the drinking water. The presence of Coliform bacteria in a drinking water supply indicates contamination from surface or shallow subsurface sources such as soil, septic or cesspool leakage, animal feedlot runoff, treatment failures, etc. Their presence also suggests that disease-causing organisms may enter the drinking water supply in the same manner.

** Nitrate is used in fertilizer and is found in sewage and wastes from human and/or farm animals and generally gets into drinking water from those activities. Excessive levels of nitrate in drinking water have caused serious illness and sometimes death in infants less than six months of age. The serious illness in infants is caused because nitrate is converted to nitrite in the body. Nitrite interferes with the oxygen carrying capacity of the child's blood.


Environmental Health Officer, Sherry Storjohann talks to a class about the importance of testing private wells.

Sherry demonstrates the Groundwater Flow Model to show that contamination move through the soil and has an impact on neighboring water supplies.