Hundreds expected to bring samples to free water, soil testing event

If you’re wondering what’s in your well water or whether you should fertilize your lawn, Greene County residents can get answers for free at an upcoming event.

The county’s 12th annual “Test Your Well Water & Soil” event is set for 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday at the Greene County Fairgrounds.

Residents can take in samples that will be tested on-site for nitrates, nitrites and iron. The first 70 households will receive free testing for arsenic and lead, and bacteria test kits will be available for $20 each, according to a release from Greene County Public Health.

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There will be a limited supply of free soil test kits for each household.

There are about 1,600 residential wells in use in Greene County, and hundreds of people are expected to bring in samples, according to Lee Eltzroth, education specialist with Greene County Soil & Water Conservation.

“Your well may be awesome, but the only way to find out if it’s good is to have it tested,” Eltzroth said.

Across the state, about 2 million people rely on household water wells, according to Greene’s public health district.

Eltzroth said through his travels he has learned to appreciate the 1.5 billion-gallon aquifer that flows beneath the Dayton area.

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“The aquifer we have in Dayton, it’s hard to compare it to anywhere else,” he said. “We almost take it for granted. Each day individuals use about 100 gallons of water … some places won’t have that much for a week for a family.”

The Montgomery County Soil and Water Conservation District will be on-hand to assist in testing the waters. Jim Davis is the lab services manager for Montgomery County, where they test about 200 samples from Dayton area communities every month.

Davis said the groundwater supply in the area is of good quality, but they find elevated levels of arsenic in some wells in Greene County.

“It’s naturally occurring and is found in about 10 to 20 percent of the residential wells in Greene County,” Davis said.

If a sample is found to have contaminants, the well in question may need to be chlorinated to remove bacteria, or residents may want to install a water filtering system, which can cost anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars, Davis said.

Brianna Wooten, spokeswoman for Montgomery’s soil and water district, said they will be hosting a water and soil sampling event in the coming weeks. She said health officials suggest testing your water at least once a year.

“It is more of a due diligence so we can try to educate the public and offer them this service so they are more inclined to take advantage of it and get it done,” Wooten said.

For more information, call Greene County Soil & Water Conservation at (937) 372-4478, ext. 8123.

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