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Water Wells

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has recommended actions for private well owners and emphasizes the importance of properly constructing and maintaining wells. For more information on wells, well borings, and well management topics, visit the MDH Website;

Follow these basic steps to maintain your well and protect your drinking water:

Follow the Three Cs of Maintenance:

  • Cap – ensure the well cap is securely fastened, unbroken, and watertight.
  • Casing – check the well pipe for cracks or corrosion.
  • Conduit – confirm the electric service wire is securely connected to the well cap.

Have Your Well Water Tested

Test your well on a regular basis to ensure that it is safe for drinking. It is recommended that you use a certified testing laboratory. A list of certified laboratories can be found on the MDH Website;          

Northern Minnesota has four certified labs: Detroit Lakes, Duluth, Grand Rapids and Virginia.

MDH recommends that you typically test for bacteria, nitrate, arsenic, and lead. However, testing needed may depend on where you live and the surrounding land use. MDH well specialists are available to answer your questions. You can contact the well MDH specialist for our area in Duluth at 218-302-6166.

Generally, procedures for well testing involve:

  • Contact the lab and obtain the testing kit
  • Read and understand all directions and procedures
  • Plan when to obtain your water sample. Timing is critical as it will need to reach the lab within 24 hours.
  • Collecting your water sample and returning it to the lab (usually within 24 hours) following the specified lab procedures (Spee-Dee Delivery Service handles WICOLA’s lake water samples).
  • Most labs recommend that you AVOID Weekends and Holidays when labs are closed. Collect samples Monday through Thursday to ensure that the sample can be analyzed within the time period the sample is still viable. This may require hand delivery or arranging for overnight/next day delivery.

Constructing a New Water Supply Well:

See MDH’s Constructing a New Water-Supply Well page for general information on new well construction.

When planning installation of a new well, be aware of the required setback, or isolation, distances. For example, the well cannot be located within 50 feet of a septic system or privy, or within 35 feet of a lake, stream, pond or river. For more information on isolation distances from the MDH;

In Minnesota, all wells must be drilled, constructed, and tested in accordance with the requirements of Minnesota Statutes, chapter 103I, and Minnesota Rules, chapter 4725.