Adams County UW Extension Services
The only way to determine the nitrate level in water is to have a water sample tested. Public water supplies are tested regularly for the presence of nitrates. A nitrate test is recommended for all newly constructed private wells and wells that have not been tested during the past 5 years. Testing is also recommended for wells used by pregnant women and is essential for wells that serve infants under six months of age. Wells with nitrate-nitrogen levels below 5 milligrams per liter should be retested every few years. If the levels are between 5 and 10 milligrams per liter, owners should consider testing more often to check for seasonal changes. Additional testing may also be useful if there are any known sources of nitrate or if high nitrate levels are detected in nearby wells.If you would like your water tested, you can simply bring in a well rinsed and clean soda bottle, jar, or container with about a cup of water from the tap. The test is quick, under 5 minutes, and you will have results instantaneously. The cost for the nitrate test is .50.
Additional Information Regarding Nitrates
Water Quality Tests for Drinking Water
Every year, well water should be tested for at least coliform bacteria and nitrate. However, a water sample can be tested for a variety substances all at one time. Some labs, like the ETF Lab, have a “homeowners package” that includes tests for nitrate, coliform bacteria, pH, total hardness, chloride, conductivity, and alkalinity. From these test results the corrosivity is determined. The ETF Lab also offers a “homeowners metal package” that includes tests for arsenic, calcium, copper, iron, lead screening, magnesium, manganese, potassium, sodium, sulfate, and zinc. Other substances or conditions that can be tested for in water include multiple pesticides, chemical oxygen demand, VOCs (volatile organic compounds), and others. For links to a price sheet for these tests and additional tests Water Test Price List Pg 1 Water Test Price List Pg 2
The above tests were chosen to identify the most common problems in Wisconsin. Other areas may have other testing concerns.
If you are interested in having your water tested, please stop and visit the Adams UW Extension Office, you can purchase the water bottle here at our office for $3.00, and we will supply you with instructions on how to collect and mail your water sample, along with a pre-addressed package for your water sample.
Additional Information Regarding Drinking Water
Determining the fertility level of a soil test is the first step in planning a good fertilizer and lime application program. Testing should be done for lawn and gardens once every three years, and the soil can be sampled anytime it is not frozen. Sampling in the early spring or late fall assures that you will have recommendatons before buying lime and fertilizer. You will need to allow at least two weeks for the laboratory to complete your analysis. Remember it is always best to sample before applying fertilizer. Contamination of the soil sample with fertilizer particles will result in erroneous soil test results.
Soil sample bags and paperwork can be obtained from the Adams County UW Extension. Soil testing for lawns and gardens is $16.00.
If you have any questions regarding these test, please call Don Genrich, Agriculture Agent, or Lynn Dolata, Agriculture Coordinator at 608-339-4237.