We recently learned that the Allegan Conservation District in Allegan County (Michigan) will distribute free test kits for nitrates and nitrites to landowners from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 23, at the Allegan County Area Technical and Education Center, 2891 116th Ave. in Allegan.
This free water test kit offer comes to you courtesy of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development through the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program with the Allegan Conservation District.
Why test for nitrates?
While not considered a substantial health risk in lower quantities and concentrations, as they occur naturally in many foods and get used to preserve and cure meat products, but concentrations in excess of 10 mg/L (1 mg/L = 1 part per million) in drinking water pose a health risk to young children under the age of 6 months old, expecting mothers, nursing mothers, and the elderly.
Why 10 mg/L?
The United States Environmental Protection Agency set the ‘action’ limit for nitrates in drinking water at 10 mg/L, meaning a public water system would need to immediately take steps to reduce nitrate concentrations in the water
Due to most water well contamination by nitrates and nitrites coming from surface runoff, shallow wells therefore stand the greatest chance of having higher than acceptable levels of nitrates and nitrites. Health officials and well water professionals typically suggest that all drinking water obtained from wells get tested annually for — at the very least — nitrates, nitrites, and coliform bacteria.
Also, if you just had a new well installed, or work done on your existing water well, you should have the water tested prior to using water from the well for drinking or cooking purposes.
For more information on the free water testing offer in Allegan County, Michigan, you can visit their web site www.allegancd.org or you can contact Ana at at 269-673-6940, ext. 5.