Drinking Water Testing Program

Published on June 11, 2019

Sponsored by Local Town Boards, Extension Columbia County and the Columbia County Land & Water Conservation Department.


Groundwater is an essential resource in Wisconsin. It provides drinking water for 70% of Wisconsin residents and 95% of Wisconsin communities. Groundwater also feeds our lakes, streams and wetlands and helps sustain the many creatures who live there.

Nearly 900,000 households rely on private wells as their primary water supply. Homeowners with private wells are encouraged to have their well tested on a regular basis to determine the safety of the water supply for purposes such as drinking and cooking. While testing is the only way to determine the types and amount of contaminants in a well water system, homeowners and local officials often want to know more about water quality issues in their community. (www.uwsp.edu)  Getting your water tested annually is the best way to know if your drinking water is safe.

The Columbia County Drinking Water Testing Program is a convenient way to test your water and learn about what your results say about the quality of your drinking water.


Residents residing in the townships of Columbus, Fountain Prairie, Hampden and Otsego will have an opportunity to participate in a Drinking Water Program in the fall of 2019.  Most private wells provide a clean, safe supply of water; however, contaminants can pollute private wells, and unfortunately you cannot see, smell or taste most of them.  If you are a homeowner with a private well, you should be testing your water once annually.


  • Pick up a water bottle at your Town Hall on Saturday, September 14th from 8 am – 10 am. *(Except Otsego, will be picking up at Bonnet Prairie Lutheran Church, N3694 Old F Road, Rio)
  • Payments for testing kits will be collected when you pick up the bottle.  Please make your checks payable to Extension Columbia County.  NOTE:  If you purchase all three tests, there is a reduced price of $123.
  • Fill your water bottle on Monday, September 16th – NOT BEFORE, keep refrigerated.
  • Return your water bottle to your Town Hall on Monday, September 16th from 6:30 am – 7:30 am or 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm.
  • Attend the Drinking Water Testing Overview and Educational Session on Thursday, October 24th at the Otsego Town Hall, W3199 State Road 16, Otsego, WI.  Test results will be returned and discussed at that time.  Registration begins at 5:30 pm; program will begin at 6:00 pm and conclude by 7:30 pm.
  • If you are unable to attend the Educational Session on October 24th, your water test results will be mailed to you.  If you wish to pick your test results up at the Extension Columbia County Office, please call the office at 608.742.9680 prior to October 24th and we will have your test results held for you to pick up beginning Monday, October 28th.

What Tests are Available?

Homeowner Package ($55) includes tests for Nitrates, Bacteria, PH, Harness, Conductivity, Corrosivity, Chloride and Alkalinity.

Metals Package ($52) includes tests for Arsenic, Lead, Copper, Iron, Zinc and Sodium

DACT Screen ($33) includes testing for Triazine-type pesticides.


For more information, please download the 2019 Well Water Testing Flyer.


In Spring 2019 the Towns of Fort Winnebago, Marcellon, Pacific and Wyocena participated in the drinking water testing program.  Over 190 households participated.  Click here for Kevin Masarik’s Spring 2019 Presentation

In Fall 2018, the Towns of Caledonia, Lewiston and Newport participated in the drinking water testing program.  Over 130 households participated.  Click here for Kevin Masarik’s Fall 2018 Presentation.

In Spring 2018, the Town of Arlington, Dekorra, Leeds and Lowville participated in the drinking water testing program.  Over 120 households participated.  Click here for Kevin Masarik’s Spring 2018 Presentation.

In Fall 2017, the Towns of Lodi and West Point participated in the drinking water testing program.  Over 100 households participated.  Click here for Kevin Masarik’s Fall 2017 Presentation.


Weren’t able to participate but still need your water tested?

If you missed the opportunity to participate in the drinking water program, you may pick up homeowner testing kits at: Columbia County UW Extension Office located at 112 East Edgewater Street, Suite 212, Portage, WI  (608) 742-9680.   UW Extension does not carry the Pesticide Screening or Metals Screening test kits.

Columbia County Division of Health offers free well water testing to pregnant women and  children less than one year old.  Testing kits are available from the Columbia County Division of Health.  Please call (608) 742-9227 to schedule an appointment with a Public Health Nurse.

Additional information on forms and current pricing can be found at: https://www.uwsp.edu/cnr-ap/weal/Pages/Homeowner.aspx


Drinking Water Phase I Map (2007 – 2010)

Drinking Water Phase II Map (2017 – 2020)


For more information please contact:

Kathleen Haas, Community Development Educator

Extension Columbia County

112 E. Edgewater Street, Room 212

Portage, WI 53901

Phone: 608.742.9683