Interpreting well water test results

Over the last several months, Farm Bureau members throughout Ohio have been participating in well water testing. Ohio Farm Bureau provided each county Farm Bureau 25 testing kits for members to use and then send to Heidelberg University’s National Center for Water Quality Research for nitrate analysis, and 675 members took advantage of the program.

It is recommended that wells be tested annually if they are more than 20 years old; were dug rather than drilled; are shallow; soil is sandy; a chemical spill happened nearby; or are near cropland, feedlots, landfills or industrial sites.

Once homeowners receive their results, they can use the Ohio Watershed Network’s Well Water Interpretation Tool to understand what the results mean. Ohio State University in conjunction with the Ohio Department of Health and Ohio Environmental Protection Agency developed this online tool that offers instant water quality interpretation.

Depending on results, if further action is needed, there are online resources for well owners with additional information and resource links.

The well water testing initiative is a part of Ohio Farm Bureau’s Water Quality Action Plan, a comprehensive effort to help improve water quality statewide, which also includes edge-of-field nutrient runoff monitoring and conservation efforts through the Blanchard River Demonstration Farms Network in northwest Ohio, as well as advocating for legislation that will positively impact the state’s water quality while allowing the business of agriculture to grow.

“More than 750,000 households in Ohio depend on their own well, spring or cistern for their drinking water,” according to Larry Antosch, OFBF’s senior director of policy development and environmental policy. “Farm Bureau provided this service for members so they have an opportunity to see what’s in their family’s drinking water and take any necessary corrective actions.”

Ohio Farm Bureau membership