Well Management Program
Private Well Users are in Every County
About one in five Minnesotans (1.2 million people) get their drinking water from a private well. There are private well users in every county in Minnesota.
Figure 1: Each green dot is where there is a known drinking water well (2018).
Private Well Users Have to Take Extra Steps to Protect Their Health
Unlike people who get their drinking water from a public water system, private well users are responsible for regularly testing their well water and treating it when necessary. They are responsible for making sure their water is safe for everyone in their household. Minnesota Department of Health testing recommendations are below.
The contaminants listed above are common in Minnesota well water and can lead to short- and long-term health effects. You cannot taste, smell, or see most of these contaminants, and water quality can change over time.
You Can Help Private Well Users Protect Their Health
Local partners play an important role in helping protect private well users’ health. You are a trusted source of information and have contact with people who get their drinking water from a private well. To help protect the health of private well users in your community, please take the following actions and check out the resources that may be of interest.
Apply for the Safe Drinking Water for Private Well Users Grant
Apply for up to $100,000 to promote well testing for households that rely on private well water for drinking water and provide financial assistance to address high levels of nitrate and/or arsenic in the water for eligible households. There are two grant categories:
Category 1: Arsenic in Private Wells
Category 2: Nitrate in Private Wells in Minnesota’s Karst Area
Application deadline: March 16, 2020, by 4:30 p.m. Central Time
Eligibility: Local, regional, or tribal unit of government working in at least one of the following jurisdictions: Becker, Blue Earth, Clay, Faribault, Fillmore, Goodhue, Grant, Houston, Kandiyohi, Mahnomen, McLeod, Meeker, Norman, Olmsted, Pipestone, Renville, Sibley, Stevens, Traverse, Wabasha, or Winona counties; the White Earth Nation or Prairie Island Indian Community.
Learn more: Safe Drinking Water for Private Well Users Grant
Actions all partners can take
- Promote regular well testing through:
- Your webpage
- Social media
- Fairs and other community events
- Postcards or letters
- Ads: radio, newspaper, social media, or television
- Share Minnesota Department of Health educational materials. We have a lot of information available about how to test well water, how to maintain your well, contaminants in drinking water, and what to do if you have a contaminant in your drinking water.
- Include the Water Quality/Well Testing webpage on your webpage and outreach materials.
- Free brochures: Order Well Management Program Educational Materials.
- Provide Minnesota Department of Health contact information. Let private well users know they can contact us if they have questions about their well or water quality. They can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-201-4600 or 800-383-9808.
- Contact us with questions about private wells, water testing, or ideas for outreach.
- Collaborate with local agencies and organizations to promote well testing. Ideas include medical providers, local government, WIC clinics, childcare providers, Soil and Water Conservations Districts, watershed districts, laboratories, environmental services, water treatment professionals, University Extension, libraries, and schools.
Actions and resources for specific partners
In the next few months, we will have additional resources and more recommendations for:
- Accredited Laboratories
- Family Child Cares
- Licensed Well Contractors
- Local Public Health
- Medical Professionals
- Real Estate Professionals
Go to > top.Questions?
Contact the MDH Well Management Section
651-201-4600 or 800-383-9808
Minnesota Department of Health