Expert encourages people to test well water during drought

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COLUMBIA – During drought situations, private ground water wells should be tested, said Bob Broz, University of Missouri Extension water quality specialist.

He said, when there isn’t enough water on the soil, there’s not enough water in ground wells. That means water might come some distance away, which can cause problems.

“As that water moves underneath the surface – the rock, gravel, the soil – it picks up different types of things,” Broz said. “Most of the time, it’s mineral, but it can be natural bacteria we may find in the soil and they in turn can be identified or located in your well.”

He said, since most drinking wells are private, the owner is responsible for them and if they are not tested, people may get sick.

“You may think it’s some type of summer flu, but it may actually be that you picked up some bacteria from the drinking water and that’s what’s making you sick,” Broz said.

He said ground water well owners should generally have their well tested yearly. Owners can get testing bottles from their county health department or the Department of Health and Senior Services.

Broz said the bottles have instructions on how to take water samples and where to send them.

He said if a well runs dry or owners notice changes in turbidity or odors, they should have the water tested immediately.

Mid-Missouri is currently in a moderate drought.