Water Testing

Private wells should be tested routinely for bacteria, nitrates and arsenic.
Buffalo County Water Lab

Buffalo County Public Health has a WI DATCP Certified water lab. We offer testing for bacteria, nitrate, and arsenic. Test kits may be picked up at the courthouse (407 S 2nd St, Alma) or you may contact us to request a kit be mailed. The completed test kit must be dropped off within 36 hours of sample collection. Tests may be dropped off Monday - Thursday between 8 am and 4 pm.

Bacteria ($20)

Coliform bacteria are the most common contaminants found in private water systems. They don’t generally cause illness but indicate a breach in the water system. E. Coli are a type of coliform bacteria. Most strains are harmless and live in the intestines of healthy humans and animals. However, one strain, O157:H7, produces a powerful toxin that can cause severe illness.

Nitrates ($20)

Nitrate is a compound that is formed naturally when nitrogen combines with oxygen. Nitrogen is essential for all living things, but high levels of nitrate in drinking water can be dangerous to health, especially for infants and pregnant women. Nitrates come from fertilizers, manure, naturally occurs in plants and vegetables, septic systems, and municipal sewage sludge. 

Arsenic ($25)

Arsenic is a natural element found in soil and bedrock throughout Wisconsin. High levels of arsenic can negatively affect your health.

Check out our water testing brochure for more information.

Fee Exempt Testing

Buffalo County offers fee exempt water testing for any household under 150% of the federal poverty level with a pregnant woman, a child under 6 months of age, a breastfeeding mother, or a WIC Program client.  These tests are sent to and tested at the State Lab of Hygiene.

Water FAQs

Why does my water smell like sewer or rotten eggs?

Where can I find my Well Construction Report?

What is the water quality where I live?

What are the health concerns with common contaminants?

What should I do if my well gets flooded?

I have an old, unused well, what should I do with it?