BARRON COUNTY -- Barron County is asking residents for help in a groundwater quality project. The project will check the groundwater quality in our communities. Water samples from 800 wells throughout the county will be collected over 2 years. The water samples will be used to identify and track groundwater quality and concerns.
“Barron County is lucky to have a lot of groundwater,” says Barron County Conservationist Tyler Gruetzmacher. “It is important that we understand what is happening with the groundwater in our area to make sure it is clean and safe.”
To help with the project, Barron County is partnering with the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point Groundwater Center. The Groundwater Center will create a contact list from wells constructed after 1990. Starting in 1990, well records contain a Wisconsin unique well number. This number gives information on well construction, such as depth, that is important. Wells will also be selected based on their location in the County.
“Our goal is to get samples from every corner of the county,” Gruetzmacher states. “We will be inviting people to help us based on where their well is located and what kind of soil and geology is found in that area.”
Residents who own wells that qualify will receive letters in the mail in March inviting them to join the project. Those who agree to help will be mailed a sampling kit and instructions in May. There is no cost for the sampling. This free test is valued at $110. Samples will be tested for nitrate, chloride, total hardness, conductivity, alkalinity, pH, arsenic, iron, manganese, lead, copper, zinc, calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, and sulfate. Locations to drop off completed water samples will be set up around the county. Samples will be analyzed at the state-certified Water and Environmental Analysis Lab.
Well owners who participate will receive a copy of their test results and information about what the results mean. Groundwater Center staff will host meetings to answer questions and to provide information. An online dashboard will provide group results. Data will only be displayed generically. No personally identifying information will be released.
An example of a well testing dashboard can be viewed here.
A final summary will be available to the public and can help guide future decisions about Barron County’s groundwater.