The Lake County Health Department/Community Health Center offers several activities in observance of National Groundwater Awareness Week in March.
It will host an open house Tuesday, March 4, from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Lake County Central Permit Facility, 500 W. Winchester Road in Libertyville.
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Experts will discuss and answer questions about well water, such as why it may have a funny taste or smell, where it comes from and where it goes, and what tests are necessary to ensure it is safe to drink.
Those who attend can participate in drawings to win a free bacterial analysis of their well water. They can also pick up water testing kits.
Between March 3 and 13, the department is offering reduced rates for water testing. Lake County residents can pick up sterile test bottles at the Central Permit Facility or at a variety of township and municipal offices throughout the county. For a list of locations, call (847) 377-8020.
Water sampling kits can also be mailed for $12. Bring all collected water samples for analysis to the Lake County Central Permit Facility and Environmental Laboratory from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday.
During this time, the normal $16 analysis fee for testing for bacteria and nitrates will be reduced to $10 for well owners.
"About 90,000 Lake County residents rely on groundwater from aquifers to supply their private wells," said Tony Beltran, the health department's executive director. "The health department encourages all users of private wells to take this time to have their drinking water tested, and to test it at least annually to see if it meets the minimum drinking water standards."
Results of water samples are ready for homeowners in approximately three working days. If people are uncomfortable with collecting these samples themselves, staff is available to go to homes to collect the sample for a $55 fee, which includes an inspection of the well and the lab analysis for bacteria and nitrates.
National Groundwater Awareness Week is an annual observance sponsored by the National Groundwater Association. The week brings attention to the importance of groundwater as a valuable resource. It also stresses the need for yearly water testing and well maintenance to prevent waterborne illness.
For more information on water testing, contact the health department at (847) 377-8020 or email HealthEHS@lakecountyil.gov.