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National Groundwater Awareness Week–Test your private well water

The Douglas County Health Department has officially joined National Groundwater Awareness Week (#GWAW2018), an annual observance established by the National Ground Water Association to highlight the responsible development, management, and use of water. National Groundwater Awareness Week is also a platform to encourage yearly water well testing and well maintenance to prevent waterborne illnesses.

The Douglas County Health Department in conjunction with the Illinois Department of Public Health offers FREE water test kits for all private water well owners/users. The private water well owners/users obtains the kit form the health department with a prepaid UPS label, collects the sample, and uses the provided label to mail the sample to the Illinois Department of Public Health lab. The water is tested for Coliform bacteria and E. coli.

Established in 1999, National Groundwater Awareness Week provides an opportunity for people to learn about the importance of groundwater and how the resource impacts lives. “Approximately 132 million Americans rely on groundwater for drinking water, so, simply put, the resource makes life possible,” said Aaron Martin, public relations and awareness manager of NGWA. “Additionally, groundwater is used for irrigation, livestock, manufacturing, mining, thermoelectric power, and several additional purposes, making it one of the most widely used and valuable natural resources we have.”

Consider the following:

  • Americans use 79.6 billion gallons of groundwater each day.
  • Groundwater is 20 to 30 times larger than all U.S. lakes, streams, and rivers combined.
  • 44 percent of the U.S. population depends on groundwater for its drinking water supply.
  • More than 13.2 million households have their own well, representing 34 million people.

The 2018 GWAW theme of “Tend. Test. Treat.” was established to encourage a more holistic approach to sustain an adequate supply of quality water. Testing your water might prompt well inspection and maintenance, and water treatment can mitigate naturally occurring contamination revealed by the test. So, test your water, tend to your well system, then treat the water if necessary.

For further information, contact the Douglas County Health Department at 217-253-4137 or the department’s website at

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