Water Testing

Private wells should be tested routinely for bacteria, nitrates and arsenic.
Buffalo County Water Lab

Buffalo County Public Health has a WI DATCP Certified water lab. We offer testing for bacteria, nitrate, and arsenic. Kits may be picked up at the courthouse (407 S 2nd St in Alma) or contact us to request a kit be mailed. The completed test kit must be dropped off within 36 hours of sample collection. Tests may be dropped off Monday through Thursday between 8 am and 4 pm.

Bacteria ($20)

Coliform bacteria are the most common contaminants found in private water systems, and don’t generally cause illness, but indicate a breach in the water system. E. Coli are a form of coliform bacteria found in the intestines of warm-blooded animals and their feces.

Nitrates ($15)

Nitrates are formed when nitrogen combines with oxygenated water. Nitrates come from fertilizers, manure, naturally occurs in plants and vegetables, septic systems, and municipal sewage sludge.


Arsenic ($25)

Arsenic is a natural element found in soil and bedrock throughout Wisconsin. High levels of arsenic can negatively affect your health.

Check out our water testing brochure for more information.

Fee Exempt Testing

Buffalo County offers fee exempt water testing for any household under 150% of the federal poverty level with a pregnant woman, a child under 6 months of age, a breastfeeding mother, or a WIC Program client.  These tests are sent to and tested at the State Lab of Hygiene.

Water FAQs

Why does my water smell like sewer or rotten eggs?

Where can I find my Well Construction Report?

What is the water quality where I live?

What are the health concerns with common contaminants?

What should I do if my well gets flooded?

I have an old, unused well, what should I do with it?