The Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s groundwater nitrate testing and evaluation program is targeted to sensitive areas of the state. An area is considered sensitive if the groundwater is prone to contamination. The goal is to develop a broad knowledge of nitrate in drinking water wells (public and private).
Nitrate data is collected from public and private wells in sensitive areas. The samples are tested and the results are summarized. For the private wells, the MDA does follow up site visits, if necessary, to confirm the results.
Next, the results are evaluated. The MDA reports the overall pattern of nitrate levels in wells within defined areas. The testing results are the basis for taking action as described in the Nitrogen Fertilizer Management Plan.