Well Testing Program

Adams County, in partnership with UW-Extension Madison Adams County and UW - Stevens Point Water and Environmental Analysis Lab, is excited to announce the formation of the Adams County Well Testing Program. This program is designed to provide Adams County citizens access to affordable and convenient well sampling.

Most residents living in rural areas rely on private wells to supply their drinking water needs. While public and municipal wells are regulated to ensure that water quality meets current drinking water standards, private well owners must assume the responsibility of testing and treating water to ensure that it is safe to drink.

The well testing program provides well owners with a convenient opportunity to have their drinking water tested for a nominal fee. The well testing program is an extremely valuable opportunity for area residents to learn more about the quality of their drinking water and groundwater resources while also keeping their families safe. Because of the large number of wells that will be tested during this time, communities will have the opportunity to gain a better understanding of their local water quality.

Program Goals

  1. Expand community awareness concerning the importance of drinking water and groundwater resources.

  2. Promote private well owners to sample wells on a regular basis in order to gain a better understanding of the water they are drinking.

  3. Generate a mentality where people feel safe to use their water.

  4. Provide intentional educational opportunities on how to interpret well sampling data and steps that can be taken to improve water quality.

  5. Utilize well sampling data to evaluate groundwater quality data in order to prioritize areas of greatest resource concern for practice implementation.

2022 Well Testing Program

In 2022 the Well Testing Program will be offered to residents within the townships of Leola, Rome, and Monroe. The program will be offered to other townships in the coming years - please see Frequently Asked Questions or Program Future for more information. Registration for the 2022 Well Testing Program will open on May 2 at 9:00am and will close on May 27. The first 50 participants to register IN EACH TOWNSHIP will receive a free $60 sampling kit. After the first 50 registrations, participants will have to pay for the $60 sampling kit.

The following is a tentative schedule of events for the 2022 Program

  • June 15 - Participants will pick up and pay (if needed) for sampling kits

      • Sampling kits can be picked up from 7am-9am or 4pm-6pm at the Adams County Land & Water Office, Leola Town Hall, Monroe Town Hall, or Rome Town Board Room

  • June 20 - Participants will take their water sample and then drop them off with Adams County staff

      • Samples can be dropped off from 7am-9am or 4pm-6pm at the Adams County Land & Water Office, Leola Town Hall, Monroe Town Hall, or Rome Town Board Room

  • June 21 - Adams County staff will deliver samples to the UW - Stevens Point Water & Environmental Analysis Lab

  • August 2 - Participants are invited to an educational program at the Rome Community Room with Kevin Masarik, Groundwater Education Specialist from UW - Stevens Point

      • 6:00pm at the Rome Community Room - 1156 Alpine Dr., Nekoosa, WI 54457

      • Kevin Masarik will speak on the importance of healthy groundwater while helping participants interpret their results. Kevin will answer any questions and discuss next steps that participants can take

Sampling Kit Information

The sampling kit used for the Well Testing Program is the Homeowner Package ($60) provided by the UW - Stevens Point Lab. This package includes two of the most important tests to perform routinely on a well (bacteria and nitrate).

Included in the Homeowner Package

  • Coliform Bacteria - This test determines the sanitary condition of a water supply. Indicates whether or not the water supply is bacteriologically safe. This is the most important test to perform regularly on a private water system. If coliform bacteria is detected, the sample will also be checked for E. coli bacteria as well. Priority analysis is available.

  • Nitrate plus Nitrite-Nitrogen - Nitrate is the most widespread chemical contaminant in Wisconsin’s groundwater. Elevated levels may serve as an indicator of other potential contaminants, such as pesticides or chemicals associated with septic system effluent. The safe drinking water standard for nitrate-nitrogen is 10 mg/L. Priority analysis is available.

  • pH - Measures of relative acidity of the water. Useful in assessing the corrosivity of water to plumbing.

  • Alkalinity - Amount of bicarbonate, the major anion in water, related to pH and corrosion.

  • Hardness - Measure of the amount of calcium and magnesium. Important if water softening is considered.

  • Chloride - An indicator ion that, if found in elevated concentration, point to potential contamination from septic systems, fertilizer, landfills, or road salt.

  • Conductivity - Measure of total dissolved minerals in water. Change in conductivity or unusual ratio of conductivity to hardness may signal presence of contaminants.

  • Corrosivity Index - A calculation of the corrosivity index is performed to determine the tendency for plumbing to corrode or for lime to deposit in your plumbing.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the purpose of this program?

Adams County hopes to connect community members with an excellent and inexpensive way to keep their families safe while learning about the quality of their drinking water and groundwater resources. The educational part of the program also connects participants with professionals who can answer questions about test results, water quality, and what steps individuals can take to protect their water resources. Results from this program will help professionals evaluate groundwater quality data in order to prioritize areas of greatest resources concern for practice implementation.

  • Why should I sample my well water?

It is recommended that private well owners sample their water on an annual basis. By sampling well water, private well owners and their families get a good indication of their water quality. Testing your water can help remove any uncertainty you have about your water quality and help you feel better about using your water.

  • Is this a mandatory or voluntary program?

The well testing program is ran on a 100% volunteer basis. The program will encourage private well owners to participate, but will not require participation.

  • Who has access to my results?

The UW - Stevens Point Water & Environmental Analysis Lab will send results to individual participants once all samples have been processed. Only the individual participants and the lab will have access to complete results.

  • Who will have access to the overall data?

The UW - Stevens Point lab will house all data collected in the Well Testing Program. While specific test results are owned by participants, Adams County has the right to request data from the lab on an as needed basis. The lab will share data with Adams County down to the 1/4 1/4 section.

  • Are there regulatory consequences if my test results are outside of drinking water standards?

This program will NOT be used in any regulatory fashion or as a way to site participants OR neighboring properties of participants.

  • Why is this program focusing on specific townships each year?

Adams County has decided to focus on specific townships each year so that we do not overwhelm the lab. By focusing on a couple of townships each year, we can also provide a more one on one and individualized program for each township.

  • Is the educational program mandatory?

No, the educational program is not mandatory. Participants are encouraged to go to the educational program as you will be able to ask questions that will help you better interpret your results. You will also be able to learn about ways to protect your water resources and what some of your next steps can be.

  • What if I want to sample my water, but my township is not in the program this year?

You can request a water testing kit from the UW - Stevens Point Water and Environmental Analysis Lab at any time. Give them a call at (715) 346-3209, or email them at weal@uwsp.edu.

Program Future

Below is a tentative schedule of future townships to be tested. Please be aware that the dates and townships may change.

  • 2023: Big Flats, Colburn, Preston, and Richfield

  • 2024: Strongs Prairie, Adams, and Lincoln

  • 2025: Quincy, Easton, and New Chester

  • 2026: Springville, Jackson, Dell Prairie, and New Haven

For more information please contact:

Adams County Land & Water

(608) 339-4268

lwcdept@co.adams.wi.us