Landowners are starting to receive the results of what’s in their well water, thanks to the efforts of Ohio Farm Bureau. Last year OFBF announced it was offering free well water testing for members as part of its ongoing Water Quality Action Plan, which has invested $2.3 million of member dues to find ways to improve water quality statewide.
Each county Farm Bureau received 25 well water testing kits to be sent to Heidelberg University’s National Center for Water Quality Research for nitrate analysis. Ohio Farm Bureau is paying the cost of the nitrate analysis, which is $25 per sample. Testing for pesticides and metals was made available at an additional cost to landowners.
The timeline for the program was extended to the end of April to ensure the laboratory could analyze the samples in a timely manner. As of press time, almost a third of county Farm Bureaus had completed pre-registration and sent sample kits to landowners.
Experts recommend wells be tested if they are more than 20 years old, were dug rather than drilled, soil is sandy, a chemical spill happened nearby or they are near cropland, feedlots, landfills or industrial sites.
“We are having people not only do the nitrate testing but pesticide and metal testing at their own cost and some are doing it on multiple locations on their property. We’re getting good participation in this program, which provides the rural homeowner the opportunity to find out the quality of their drinking water,” said Larry Antosch, OFBF’s senior director of policy development and environmental policy.
He noted that the lab results typically take two to three weeks, are mailed directly back to participants and are confidential.