WOODSTOCK – The McHenry County Department of Health is offering reduced-fee water testing for individual well-water users to mark Safe Drinking Water Month.
Residents can have well water sampled for coliform bacteria and nitrates for $18.
Testing regularly is the only way to determine whether well water is safe to drink, because many contaminants are colorless and odorless.
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. Coliform bacteria are microbes found in the digestive systems of warm-blooded animals, in soil, on plants and in surface water.
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’s office in Woodstock or at one of eight drop-off centers.
Samples can be dropped off for testing between 9 a.m. and noon Tuesdays 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.