Water (Private Wells and Water Testing) | Cerro Gordo

Water (Private Wells and Water Testing)

Have you had your private well water tested this year? 

The Environmental Protection Agency recommends that private drinking water supplies be tested annually for coliform bacteria and nitrates. The Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health makes well testing simple and easy for well owners in Cerro Gordo County.

Through the Grants to Counties program and tax allocations, the Health Department is able to provide approximately 200 FREE residential well tests and assessments per year on a first come, first serve basis to anyone who owns or utilizes a private water supply.

This no cost service includes:

  • A well assessment
  • Sample collection from a location where most of the residential drinking water is obtained (usually the kitchen sink) for Coliform Bacteria, E.Coli Bacteria, Nitrate, and Arsenic.
  • Sample submission to a certified laboratory
  • Consultation if results are unsafe
  • Results sent to the home

water testing


Health Risks from Groundwater Contaminants


Potential health risks from certain types of coliform bacteria can include diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches or other symptoms. They may pose a special health risk for infants, young children and people with severely compromised immune systems.


Infants below the age of six months who drink water containing nitrite in excess of the maximum contaminant level could become seriously ill and if untreated, may die. Symptoms include shortness of breath and blue-baby syndrome.


Arsenic in drinking water is believed to be a contributor to numerous health issues including many cancers, diabetes, skin damage, circulatory and reproductive problems. Click Here! for additional information.


Public vs. Private Water Supplies

Public drink water supplies are regularly tested and treated to meet Environmental Protection Agency standards. If you use a public water supply, you may contact that agency for information on their water quality testing. Private wells are unregulated. The owner is responsible for testing and treating of contaminants.



 Well Application and Additional Information

Environmental health inspectors evaluate and inspect the construction and reconstruction of any non-public water supplies within Cerro Gordo County. This serves to protect ground water with appropriate construction and location of water wells. A permit is required for all well construction and reconstruction performed within Cerro Gordo County.


Well Plugging

It is illegal to have an unplugged, abandoned well.  Through the Grants to Counties program up to $500 per well is available to assist home owners with the cost of plugging abandoned wells.  Wells must be plugged by a certified well contractor.


Well Reconstruction

Through the Grants to Counties program up to $1000 per well is available to assist home owners with the cost bringing old wells up to current well code.  Certain requirements must be met, please contact our office for additional details.  Wells must be reconstructed by a certified well contractor.


Permit fees are listed on the applications.