TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KLIX) Magic Valley residents living in Jerome or Twin Falls with private wells will be able to get their water tested for free at two up coming events. The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality will provide free nitrate testing on private wells at the Jerome Annual Health Fair Saturday, March 10, and at the 3rd Annual Ground water Awareness Fair on March 15, in Twin Falls. During the Twin Falls event, DEQ will have several demonstrations as well as maintenance tips for wells and septic systems. According to DEQ, nitrate is the most widespread contaminant in Idaho water. It is a natural occurrence, but how the land is used and human activities can increase the nitrate levels in the ground.

In areas with shallow depths to ground water, sandy soils, fractured bedrock, or shallow wells, nitrate contamination can easily occur.

DEQ says that high nitrate levels can be particularly dangerous to infants, unborn children, and adults with low stomach acidity.
If you want to get free testing done during the events here is a list of tips from DEQ:

  • Identify a source that is not connected to a treatment device (water softener, carbon filter, or other filtration system). An outside faucet or hydrant works best.
  • Locate a clean glass jar and lid or Ziploc bag to collect the water sample. Label the outside with your name or address, date, and well name (garden well or house well).
  • Allow the water to run 5-10 minutes to empty the pressure tank so water comes directly from the aquifer, which leads to more accurate results.
  • Fill the container with approximately one cup of water.
  • Keep the sample cool. DEQ will dip a test strip into the water, which will indicate if nitrate is present.

For more information call the regional office in Twin Falls at (208) 736-2190 or e-mail irene.nautch@deq.idaho.gov