We have previously mentioned that many people have started to pay closer attention to the quality of their well water when it comes to pesticides. In this case we’d like to point out that the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, abbreviated as MDA, but not to be confused with the Muscular Dystrophy Association, has put together a video that educates homeowners on the dangers of atrazine in their well water and ways to test for it.
The MDA also suggests that state residents with private wells also keep an eye on bacteria and nitrate levels. Elevated levels of either in drinking water can result in severe illness and some cases even death.
Pretty much just like every other source we have ever found, the MDA definitely agrees with the idea of private well owners taking a sincere interest in monitoring the quality of the water coming out of their water wells. That message will certainly shine through in the following quote:
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) has created a video, educating homeowners on how to test private wells for atrazine. This video explains some of the ways a well could become contaminated, provides a step-by-step procedure for screening a well, and what to do if atrazine is detected. Information regarding other common contaminants is also provided.
The video is available online at www.mda.state.mn.us/privatewelltesting, where additional information on pesticides and well testing is also available.
In Minnesota, private well owners are responsible for testing their own wells. While state agencies periodically conduct surveys of water quality in private wells, it is ultimately the responsibility of the well owner to monitor for drinking water contaminants, including atrazine. Nitrates and Escherichia coli (E.coli) are perhaps the most common and important contamination concerns for private wells.
Atrazine concentrations in private wells are expected to be absent or below current health-based guidance of three parts per billion (ppb) set by the Minnesota Department of Health. Nevertheless, there is always a potential for atrazine contamination of drinking water in high atrazine use areas and geologically vulnerable areas. ( source )
So, just like everywhere else, owners of private wells in Minnesota must also accept ultimate responsibility for the quality of the water their wells produce. No government agency has the authority to force well owners to test their water and more importantly, no government agency will begin an investigation into sources of groundwater contamination if no one provides them with test data indicating a potential problem may exist.