Today’s free nitrates in water testing announcement came from Benton County (in Minnesota) where a County agency has partnered with a State agency to offer free nitrate level testing to folks attending the Benton County fair in Sauk Rapids, MN.

The Benton Soil & Water Conservation District and Minnesota Department of Agriculture are conducting the nitrate clinic from 11:30 a.m.-7 p.m. Aug. 1 and 2. The clinic will be at the SWCD’s fair booth in the Education Building.

Nitrate is a common contaminant, particularly in shallow wells, dug wells and wells with damaged or leaking casings. Nitrates can come from fertilizers, animal waste and human sewage. It is tasteless, odorless and colorless. ( source )

Nitrates’ undetectable nature (except by testing. see nitrate/nitrite test strips) makes it a potentially dangerous well and drinking water contaminant. Unborn children, infants and small children can become very ill and possibly even die from prolonged exposure to elevated nitrate levels in their drinking water (see Blue Baby Syndrome).

Nitrate/Nitrite Test Strips
Nitrate/Nitrite Test Strips

Nitrate’s effects on older children and adults remains unclear at this time but some health experts have tentatively linked prolonged exposure to higher than normal nitrate levels with serious illnesses like lymphoma.

More free nitrate testing in Minnesota

For those not able to get out to the Benton County Fair to take advantage of the free nitrate testing the Benton Benton Soil & Water Conservation District located at 14 Second Ave. W in Foley, MN offers local residents free nitrate testing during office hours during the week. Interested parties may call 968-5300, Extension 3 or email

Testing for nitrates elsewhere

As we learn of more free and/or discounted well water testing offers we will post them on the site. In the meantime, if you would like to perform testing of your well water yourself we recommend the WaterWorks Nitrate & Nitrite Test Strips currently available in our Water Test Kit Store. While not as awesome a deal as free testing, you can get 50 tests for around $14 and you can get the water test kit you need in just a few days.

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