The Gallatin Conservation District has teamed up with the Gallatin Local Water Quality District to help distribute the Well Educated program’s well testing kits in Gallatin County.
Montana State University Extension’s goal of the Well Educated program is to provide private well owner education about water quality as it relates to health and quality of life. Since 1989 the program has been offered to thousands of well owners, along with the resources to help interpret the water quality results. Well Educated is a collaborative effort between Montana State University Extension Water Quality program and partners in participating counties that provides well owners with materials to sample their well water quality. The outcome is a service that helps prevent nonpoint source groundwater contamination from private wells through well owner education while simultaneously providing means to monitor groundwater quality.
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 its 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. The Well Educated program is designed to streamline the process to help homeowners readily test and understand their water quality.
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 that 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 person, a person anticipating pregnancy, or an infant under the age of six months becomes a water user.
Testing through the Well Educated program is done by shipping kit materials to a State-Certified lab in Billings, Montana. The cost to you depends on the parameters you choose to test for. Each kit includes a cost sheet for various parameter packages. You are encouraged to run tests for ALL parameters that were recommended based on your aesthetic concerns, well location, and other factors.
Well testing kits are free and can be picked up at the following locations:
- Gallatin Local Water Quality District, 215 W. Mendenhall Street, Suite 300, Bozeman, MT 59715
- Gallatin Conservation District, 120 South 5th Street, Suite B104, Manhattan, MT 59741
Cost Share Opportunity
To make the testing of the Well Educated program even more affordable for landowners testing their private wells, Gallatin Conservation District is offering a 75/25 cost share opportunity. This opportunity reimburses up to 75% of well testing costs for Gallatin County residents who test their wells through the Well Educated program. 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.
To learn more and apply to this cost share opportunity, please visit the Cost Share Programs page and scroll to the bottom of the page.