Why not OK free well testing?

We don’t understand the objection the Brown County Board of Commissioners has to accepting a Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) program that would provide free well testing for some township residents. On Tuesday the majority of the board refused to act to enter a joint powers agreement with the MDH for the Township Nitrate-Nitrogen Testing Program. Commissioner Scott Windschitl’s motion to accept the agreement died for lack of a second.

The program would give residents in Leavenworth, Mulligan and Stark Townships who live in higher vulnerability areas, based on soil type, to have their well water tested at no charge for nitrates and nitrogen contamination.

The board was suspicious, we suppose, with the suspicion local government has of state agencies that hold out the carrot of free well testing before whacking you with the stick of unfunded state water quality mandates.

They wondered what the state would do with the information. We guess the state would tell people who have bad water that they have bad water so they could get clean water.

Some commissioners worried that the testing wouldn’t tell where the nitrates came from, and that everyone would blame farmers. If someone has nitrates in their well water, do they really care about the source, or do they care about getting clean water for themselves and their children to drink?

We think turning down free well testing is like refusing to go to the doctor because he might tell you you’re sick. It’s not a wise policy.


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