Lake County offering free well water testing through the rest of 2021

The Lake County health department is conducting free well water testing every Tuesday until the end of the year. Health officials say regular testing is important because well water is more prone to contamination. [luchschenF / Shutterstock]
The Lake County health department is conducting free well water testing every Tuesday until the end of the year. Health officials say regular testing is important because well water is more prone to contamination. [luchschenF / Shutterstock]

Lake County residents who have private well water can now receive free water quality testing from the health department until the end of the year.

Private residential wells are often shallower than large public wells and therefore more susceptible to contamination, said Chris Loxterman, environmental health supervisor at the Lake County General Health District.

“Naturally occurring water can have coliform, E. coli and other contaminants possibly in it, and if you don’t have it tested on somewhat of a regular basis, you may not know what you’re drinking,” Loxterman said.

Contaminants in drinking water can cause stomach problems like diarrhea and vomiting, among other health issues, he said.

Health department staff are available every Tuesday through the end of December to go out to homes to conduct testing, Loxterman said.

A limited number of appointments are available on a first-come, first-serve basis, he said, and residents must call 440-350-2543 to schedule ahead of time.

While water quality testing has always been available through the health department, Loxterman said the usual $70 fee is being waived for the rest of the year to encourage residents to take advantage of the service.

Health officials have no reason to believe there are any specific water quality problems in the area, he said, but they recommend yearly testing because private wells are only required to be tested when they are installed, unlike city water, which is tested regularly.

“That might be twenty years ago, and things could have changed with the groundwater that they’re getting their well water from. So, checking that on a regular basis is important,” he said.

Loxterman estimates about half of homes in the county have private well water, particularly in rural areas, yet the health department only gets a small percentage of water quality testing requests each year.

“Even when you have all kinds of additional filters and mechanics that go along to it, you still may not know the quality of water if it’s not being tested. It’s important if you’re drinking that water to know,” he said.

After the sample is collected, staff will send it to a certified laboratory to be tested.

The health department will then contact the homeowner with recommendations for sanitation if needed, Loxterman said.

Water samples for home sale transaction are not eligible for the health department’s promotion, he added.

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