Environmental Health

Well Testing
Safe drinking water is important to your health. But how can you tell if your well and water system provide safe water? The answers are to periodically inspect the water system for defects and have a water sample tested for harmful contaminants by a laboratory.

The Muscatine County Building, Zoning and Environmental Office will test your private well 1 time per year without cost to you, through a State of Iowa grant. The test is for bacteria and nitrates. Please contact our office to set up an appointment, generally we test on Tuesdays. It would take 1 week to 10 days to receive the results back.

If there are any questions concerning filters to remove different minerals and contaminates from drinking water, testing for different minerals and contaminates, please contact this office or the University of Iowa Hygienic Laboratory.

Well Plugging
The goal of Iowa’s Groundwater Protection Act was to prevent further contamination of groundwater. Abandoned wells offer a direct pathway for contaminants to enter a groundwater aquifer. Some large diameter wells can also be a safety hazard to small children who can fall into well casings.

Any well that is no longer in use, or is in such poor physical condition that it cannot be repaired to be safely used, must be plugged. This applies to all wells, including drinking wells, monitoring wells, and irrigation wells.

Funding Assistance

If you would like to apply for funding to help with the cost of plugging private wells in Muscatine County, the applicant would need to contact our office before the work commences. Through a State of Iowa grant, we can reimbursed up to $200 on each well.

For more information on how to plug your own well, handouts are available in our office.

Well Renovation
Health authorities and well contractors point out that a properly constructed well and plumbing system are the most effective ways to prevent bacterial contamination. But a new well can cost thousands of dollars. So owners of bacterially-contaminated wells frequently ask about repairs that can correct this common problem.

Some contaminates, such as nitrate, are not filtered out by the soil. So, repairing defects in a well plagued by high nitrate may not significantly reduce the problem. Finding an alternate water source, or treating the water to remove nitrate, are more likely solutions to this problem.

Before initiating any well repairs, take time to realistically evaluate your chances of successful renovation. Wells less than 20 feet deep, for example, are poor candidates for well renovation.

Funding Assistance
If you would like to apply for funding to help with the cost of renovating a private well in Muscatine County, the applicant would need to contact our office before the work commences. Through a State of Iowa grant, $600 can be reimbursed on each well.

For more information on how to renovate a private well, handouts are available in our office.