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(West Plains) – With the summer drought conditions affecting the groundwater available in the area, the Howell County Health Department is urging county residents to test their private water wells to ensure their drinking water is clean and safe for everyday use.

A large number of Howell County’s rural residents use private wells to supply drinking water. These wells, which tap into local groundwater, are designed to provide clean, safe drinking water. Statewide, there are more than 400,000 private wells in Missouri, accounting for more than 17 percent of the state’s water supply. These wells are used by more than 1.4 million Missourians, more than a quarter of the state’s population. However, improperly constructed or poorly maintained wells can create a pathway for fertilizers, bacteria, pesticides or other materials to enter the water supply.

The Howell County Health Department can help county residents perform water tests to ensure the quality of their water supply. An unofficial bacterial analysis of the water supply may be performed by homeowners who wish to test their own water, and a $10 fee will be assessed by the Department of Health and Senior Services upon completion of the test. An official bacterial test can be performed by a member of the Howell County Health Department at a charge of $20. Water chemistry tests must be performed by officials with the Howell County Health Department for a charge of $20. If both bacterial and water chemistry testing are desired, the charge will be $30 for the tests.

Contact the Howell County Health Department Environmental Services Section at 417-256-7078 to schedule a water test or for more information regarding water quality and testing services.

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