Water Quality

Water Sample Testing

As a convenience for the communities we serve, the office provides water testing kits that include sterile sample bags, instructions, well disinfection information and other resources and paperwork. Water samples can be taken for analysis to the: Minnesota Valley Testing Laboratories, Inc.
1126 N. Front Street
New Ulm, MN 56037
Phone: 507-354-8517

For More Information

Standard testing includes testing for safe levels of bacteria and nitrates, but other tests are available. Call, email or stop by our office for more information.

Hazards to Water Quality


There is no safe level of coliform bacteria in water except 0. Test results are reported as either positive or negative. A positive test result needs immediate attention. The Minnesota Department of Health has more information about bacteria and well disinfection.

Water samples tested for bacteria should be taken just prior to bringing the water in for testing for accurate test results. If water samples must be held for some time before delivery to the lab, they must be refrigerated and delivered to the lab no more than 24 hours after the sample was taken or test results may not be accurate. Water samples for bacteria must be taken using sterile methods and sample bags following the instructions provided.


High nitrate levels are frequently the result of contamination from fertilizers or animal or human waste. Nitrates are especially dangerous for young infants and pregnant women, as well as for people with certain medical conditions.

Water samples being tested for nitrates should be as fresh as possible but do not necessarily need to be provided in sterile bags or refrigerated. However, sample containers must be clean and sealed with a watertight cap or lid. Sample containers will not be returned.

Other Contaminants

Depending on a variety of factors, including location and age of the water source and the population being served, we also recommend testing for other contaminants in well water. MDH has information on arsenic, lead, iron, iron bacteria, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), hydrogen sulfide, sulfates and other well-related issues on their water quality website.