Lately water quality has been an issue as the Husky oil spill left communities concerned about clean drinking water. Water is essential for life and therefore water quality is an important issue. Urban municipalities take great care to ensure water quality is held to high standards and test frequently and regularly. The information regarding quality of municipal water is readily available for the public. Many rural residents, on the other hand, rely on well water to supply their household and their livestock. Despite the importance of the water quality for both human and animal health, it seems many haven’t conducted a water test recently. Many factors can change over the years -quality, possible contamination, deterioration of the well and so on. When it comes to livestock, water is important in ensuring productivity in areas such as weight gain, milk production and fertility.

Do you know your wells?

Many properties have old and sometimes abandoned wells present. These pose many risks both to the quality of current well water but also to people and livestock. If the well casing has been compromised it is possible that contaminates have been entering the ground water without your knowledge. Depending on your geology and water system, this could lead to contamination of your current water supply. Out of sight, out of mind isn’t a good ideology to use when thinking about your well water. Improperly dealt with old wells can also lead to injuries of people and livestock who might stumble upon one unaware. Have no fear! There is funding available that can cover the material costs of eligible well decommissioning projects up to 90%!

What can you test for? Here are a few examples:

  • Bacteria- high levels of bacteria can indicate possible contamination.
  • pH- this tests how acidic or basic the water is. This can change the water quality and affect the taste and colour of your water.
  • Nitrates- in your well water can come from animal waste, private septic systems, wastewater, flooded sewers, polluted storm water runoff, fertilizers, agricultural runoff, and decaying plants.

Tests for all of these things and more can be done through the Saskatchewan Disease Control Laboratory in Regina, the SRC Analytical or the ALS Laboratory Group in Saskatoon. Each have specific requirements and containers for water samples. Containers and further information can be picked up from the Eagle Creek Watershed Group office in Biggar at 117 – 3rd Avenue West.

If you test your water please send a copy of you results to eaglecreekwatershed@hotmail.com or call us at 1-(306)-831-6009. By looking at different results throughout the watershed we can get an idea of what trends there may be and what issues need to be addressed. We can also provide assistance in interpreting your results.