Private wells could contain dangerous bacteria - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Private wells could contain dangerous bacteria

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - The water you pump from a private well may appear clean and safe to drink, but Eau Claire County's Health Department says more than 1 in 10 of the wells it tests contain some form of bacteria.

City water is tested more than 700 times each year, compare that to this: health officials estimate there are more than 8,000  private wells in Eau Claire County and only 1,400 had their water tested in 2012.

The test is simple and only requires you to run the tap for a few minutes and then drop off a sample at the city-county health department.

From there the water is screened for bacteria.

"We actually will infuse the test with a, essentially a food source for the bacteria.  Then we put it in an incubator for a certain amount of time and if there's no growth, that means there's no bacteria present," says Shane Sanderson, the director of environmental health.

Pregnant women and homes with infants should also have their well water tested for nitrates.

If your water tests positive for bacteria the county guides you through a chlorine treatment to cleanse the well so it's safe to drink again.

In Eau Claire County, testing kits cost around $15.

Tuesday, September 10th is national Protect Your Groundwater Day.

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