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Forest and Emerald residents urged to test well water

St. Croix County Public Health is encouraging all residents in the Forest and Emerald area to test their well water for coliform bacteria. There have been some recent unsafe water test results and public health wants to assure residents are drinking safe water.

According to a news release from St. Croix County Public Health, long-time residents of an area who have drank the water much of their lives may not be affected by bacteria from a well. However, people visiting over the holiday or young, elderly and people with a compromised immune system may be more susceptible and get sick from bacteria in the water.  Water safety also has to be considered when washing dishes. Dishes can be sanitized by putting a capful of unscented bleach in the final rinse before letting dishes air dry. Home-style dishwashers do not effectively sanitize the dishes.

Water used in food preparation that reaches a boil, such as with pasta or oatmeal, would be safe. Water used to make coffee or tea would also be safe.  Water used to wash fruits or vegetables would not be safe. Washing fruits and vegetables with contaminated water is actually the source of many food borne illness outbreaks.

The DNR has always recommended that well water be tested annually or whenever there is a change in color, smell, taste, or flow.  You can test your water by yourself by obtaining a water test kit at the locations listed below, or you can contact a plumber or well servicing company. If you are unsure about the safety or your water before you get test results back, you should only consume water from an alternate or treated source.

Water test kits can be obtained at: Community Development Department, Saint Croix County Government Center, 1101 Carmichael Rd, Hudson WI 54016 (715-386-4680); Public Health Department, Saint Croix County Services Center, 1752 Dorset Ln, New Richmond, WI 54017 (715-246-8330); or Agricultural and Education Services Center, 1960 8th Ave, Baldwin WI 54002 (715-531-1930)