The Grant to Counties Program provides funding for private well testing
Muscatine County in Iowa is offering free water quality testing to citizens who source their water from a private well. The funding is provided through the Grant to Counties Program enacted by the Iowa Department of Public Health.
For citizens to take advantage of the free testing, a quality test must not have been executed within a year, and all testing must be scheduled through the Muscatine County Environmental Office. A professional will then be sent to the location from where the sample will be drawn.
“The grant requires that we actually be the ones that pull the sample because we received the training on how to properly handle and submit the sample,” said Eric Furnas, planning and zoning administrator for Muscatine County. “We will take care of collecting it, getting it to the lab and submitting the paperwork. The test results will then come to us, and we’ll send them to you.”
The two most common contaminants that the county looks for from these samples are nitrates and bacteria, but the office also offers testing for arsenic upon request, though all tests for the substance have come back negative to this point. The offer marks an effort to increase knowledge and proactivity regarding water quality.
“People are more and more aware of the things they are putting in their body,” Furnas said. “In a municipal setting, you are kind of dependent on the government you live under and pay taxes to. They are required to monitor that quality by the state and the EPA. But you have responsibility for your own well when you live in the country. This is just one of the ways to get a snapshot of what your water quality is. We are just very fortunate to have this program that will pay for it.”