Douglas County offering reduced well water testing for rural residents

Douglas County offering reduced well water testing for rural residents
Published: Sep. 21, 2022 at 8:02 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 22, 2022 at 5:15 AM CDT
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SUPERIOR, WI. (KBJR) - If your home relies on well water and you live in Douglas County, local leaders are offering to help pay to test your water to see how clean it is.

Officials are looking for about 150 people to have their private well water tested and they’re offering to subsidize most of the cost.

Sue Hendrickson lives in Douglas County, her home in South Range has been a labor of love.

“We built the house and my husband and I did everything except the sheetrock,” said Sue Hendrickson, a Douglas County supervisor.

Starting in 1975, that building process was a slow burn.

“We were in our basement for almost five years. Somebody had told me that it’s better to finish everything before you move up,” said Hendrickson.

Like many people in rural Douglas County, Hendrickson’s home relies on a private well for water.

Hendrickson also sits on the county’s Land Conservation Committee.

“We really have a deep feeling about the cleanliness of our water here,” Hendrickson said.

This fall, the county is offering to help pay for testing residents’ private well water.

“So roughly half the population of Douglas County has their own private water,” said Ashley Vande Voort, the Land Conservationist for Douglas County.

She said the kits will test for bacteria, nitrates, chlorine, several metals, and more.

According to Vande Voort, the testing will provide baseline data for the cleanliness of the water now that can be used for years to come.

“That’s really important to know so that if there are impacts to the groundwater quality, we can see that happening over time,” Vande Voort said.

And for Hendrickson and other people who rely on well water, the wells may be private, but the water in the ground is a shared resource.

“Groundwater is like rivers, it’s all connected,” Hendrickson said.

County officials say the cost of the test kits is normally $117, but residents will pay $20 for them.