Wells & Water Quality
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*Nitrate Clinic - Sampling Instructions*

-Run water for 5 - 10 minutes
-Collect a cup (8 oz) of water from your well in a clean plastic/glass container
-Keep the sample cold
-Results will be available within 5 minutes of testing.
*Note: Samples should be taken less than 24 hours before the nitrate screening event. Also, you may bring in more than one sample if you’d like to test your water before and after any installed distillators, reverse osmosis tanks, or other nitrate removal systems.

The results of the testing help state agencies, local governments and the public get a better understanding of what is affecting our groundwater.

Depending on the well’s location in the county, it may be more likely to have nitrates in the water. Results from previous tests taken since 2008 show that areas with shallow bedrock depth can be more susceptible to elevated nitrate levels. The study shows that the north and eastern portions of the county contain karst topography and have more exposed aquifers. The south and western portions of the county have more protected aquifers because of sandy glacial moraine deposits. Landscape features such as sinkholes and Decorah shale also may worsen contamination.

Besides the geology surrounding the well, there are other factors that contribute to nitrates in well water. For example, faulty septic systems, and spreading manure or applying fertilizer and pesticide to crops can contribute to the nitrate in aquifers.

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MDH Well Management Section District Office and Staff

Dodge County Water Plan References:

Cedar River Watershed WRAPS
Zumbro River Watershed HSPF Scenarios
Root River Watershed WRAPS

Environmental Information Articles:
Vulnerable Groundwater Area Map - January 2023
Tap-In: Safe Drinking Water for Private Well Owners Video
How Groundwater Moves in SE Minnesota

Flooding Wells - March 2019
Use Salt Sparingly - December 2018
Time To Get Your Septic System Ready for Winter
- November 2018

Buffers Ahead of Schedule for November Deadline- September 2018 
Be the Solution to Stormwater Pollution - August 2018

Dodge County Wood Chip Bioreactor Story - December 2012

Looking for information on your well? 
Minnesota Well Index (MWI) - MN Department of Health
For more information contact the Environmental Services Department at (507) 635-6273.