The Gallatin Conservation District has partnered with the Gallatin Local Water Quality District and MSU Extension Water Quality to help promote the Montana Well Educated Program. This program began in 1989 with the mission of making well testing affordable for private well owners, in addition to gathering water quality data that can aid in the decision making process for water resource managers. Since 1989 the Well Educated Program has been offered to thousands of well owners, along with the resources to help interpret the water quality results. Through this program Montana State University Extension has been able to provide an opportunity for well owners to learn about how to protect drinking water as a resource.
Why test my water?
When you are a private well owner your water is not monitored by the city, state, government, or any municipal agencies. You are responsible for monitoring the quality of your drinking water and ensuring it’s safety. It is best to sample routinely, even when there are no apparent changes, as some issues do not present any visible signs or smells.
When should I get my water tested and how often?
Private well owners should test their water for bacteria and nitrate annually. In addition, drinking water should be tested if:
- You notice a change in your water quality (change in water taste, color, or smell).
- People drinking the water suffer from an illness which may be waterborne.
- There is a flood or large storm that may have carried contaminants into your well.
- Maintenance is done on the well infrastructure.
- A pregnant woman, woman anticipating pregnancy, or an infant under the age of six months becomes a water user.
Several testing packages are available: Well testing parameters and package costs.
Testing kits are free and can be picked up at the following locations:
Gallatin Conservation District Office
120 S. 5th Street, Suite B104
Gallatin Local Water Quality District Office
215 W. Mendenhall Street, Suite 300
Cost Share Opportunity
To make this well testing even more affordable for the landowner, Gallatin Conservation District is offering a 75/25 cost share opportunity. This opportunity reimburses Gallatin County residents within the Conservation District boundaries up to 75% of their well testing costs using the Well Educated Program. Cost-share assistance is not available for any private wells located within the main city limits of Belgrade and Bozeman. Click here for the Bozeman map and click here for the Belgrade map.
We do require that all residents seeking cost share assistance to agree to share their testing results with all three information avenues listed on the Well Educated registration form (items I – N). We wish to promote the sharing of these results with water resource managers and water quality databases so that these resources can be used to further understand the water quality of Gallatin County and what we can do to protect our water.
Required Application Forms and Deadlines for Cost Share Opportunity
Residents seeking Cost Share assistance for well testing must fill out the Application for Well Testing Cost Share Assistance form listed below. This form should be turned in by the Thursday prior to each month’s board meeting with a copy of the Well Educated registration form. Board meeting schedules can be found here. Once approved, GCD staff will await receipt of well testing results (proof of payment) before reimbursing the landowner up to 75% of the costs paid.
Please contact Sarah Bowman at firstname.lastname@example.org or 406-282-4350 for any questions about applying for Cost Share assistance.