Health experts urge people to test private water wells

Health experts urge people to test private water wells

Source: KPAX
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By: Jerad Giottonini

MISSOULA, Mont. – Health experts say you can’t see or smell some bacteria that lives in your water — that’s why you should always test private wells. Missoula County’s lab only tests private wells, not public drinking sources.

It costs $15 to test in Missoula County. In the Flathead the kits are free, but testing those kits costs anywhere from $80 to $350.

Christopher Callier lives in Kalispell and wonders if his drinking water is contaminated. He said spending hundreds of dollars is worth it to make sure his water is safe.

“I live right up against a farm, and I worry about pesticides and other things getting into the well, but I haven’t had it tested,” Callier said.

Missoula health officials said Callier’s location is prime for bacteria, especially if there’s stagnant water around.

“You don’t want that water to drain down your well casing. Make sure your well cap is secured tightly,” Missoula water specialist Todd Seib said.

Health officials advise people to test private well water once a year.

Missoula County has about 10,000 to 15,000 private wells, and most of those are outside city limits.

“In our water lab we test nearly 20 a day,” Seib said.

Scientists test for things like nitrates, arsenic and E. coli.

Seib said the majority of the water that comes though the lab tests clean.