McHenry County is 100% dependent upon groundwater for its source of drinking water, which is why it is essential to be proactive and make water well maintenance part of annual home maintenance during Groundwater Awareness Week, March 6 to March 12.
For household water well owners, how they manage their well systems and property can make a difference in their water quality. Maintenance, along with proper location and construction, is essential to ensuring drinking water remains safe.
Contaminated drinking water may not always look, taste or smell differently than safe drinking water. Water that has become contaminated by human or animal waste can transmit a variety of infectious diseases, including dysentery, salmonellosis, hepatitis and giardiasis. Annual testing of water wells can help identify an issue and help to prevent illnesses caused by drinking contaminated water.
McHenry County homeowners can have their water wells tested for coliform and E.coli bacteria along with a nitrate screen for $30. Water samples are accepted Monday through Thursday between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. Testing results are typically available the next business day after the sample is submitted.
Additional measures that should be put into action to keep water wells safe include:
- Testing water after flooding or if the well has been repaired or there is a loss of pressure
- Avoid storing or releasing hazardous chemicals near a well
- Checking that the well cap is securely fitted, not damaged and clear of insect infestation
- Inspecting the condition of the well casing for holes and cracks
- Keeping the well cap at a minimum of 8 inches above the ground
“Proper well maintenance and annual water testing are important steps so that private well owners know they are consuming bacteriologically safe water,” said Patti Nomm, MCDH’s Director of Environmental Health.
MCDH staff is available to answer any questions regarding water wells, water quality and water sampling. Anyone who has a concern regarding their water well or the safety of their water should contact the Division of Environmental Health at (815) 334-4585.