WOODSTOCK – In honor of Safe Drinking Water Month, the McHenry County Department of Health will offer reduced-fee water testing for individual well-water users during August.
Residents can have their well water sampled for coliform bacteria and nitrate for $18.
Testing wells regularly is the only way to determine whether well water is safe to drink, as many contaminants are colorless and odorless. Water from a public or municipal water system is regularly tested for contaminants regulated by federal and state standards.
Bacteria and chemicals can get into well water and contaminate it in different ways. Some bacteria and chemicals occur naturally.
Contaminants such as nitrate can come from animal waste, wastewater, flooded sewers, polluted storm water runoff, fertilizers, agricultural runoff or decaying plants.
High levels of nitrate in drinking water can cause illness in young children and pregnant women.
For a nominal charge, the health department also will sample private wells for nuisance chemicals resulting in water hardness, iron, discoloration and odor.
Sampling kits can be picked up at the health department in Woodstock or at one of eight drop-off centers. Samples can be dropped off for testing Tuesday mornings between 9 a.m. and noon at the following centers:
• Algonquin Townships Office, 3702 Route 14, Crystal Lake, 847-639-2329.
• Dorr Township Office, 140 Newell St., Woodstock, 815-338-0125.
• McHenry Township Office, 3703 Richmond Road, Johnsburg, 815-385-5605.
• Nunda Township Office, 3510 Bay Road, Crystal Lake, 815-459-4011.
• Marengo City Hall, 134 E. Prairie St., Marengo, 815-568-7112.
• Harvard Police Department, 201 W. Front St., Harvard, 815-943-4431.
• Richmond Township Office, 7812 S. Route 31, Richmond, 815-678-0077.
• Grafton Township Office, 10109 Vine St., Huntley, 847-669-3328.
For information, call the health department’s Environmental Health Division at 815-334-4585 or visit www.mcdh.info.