Testing Your Water

Making sure that your water is the most clean and healthful it can be is the aim of our qualified, experienced water analysis technicians. Our Minnesota Department of Health, Certified Water Analysis Lab performs tests for daycare facilities, foster care homes, municipal and commercial projects, for real estate transactions… and for your home.

Need us to pick up your water sample? Let us know the best time and place, and who to ask for. Call us at (320) 251-5090, or use our toll-free number, 1-(800) 728-5091.

Once we’ve tested your sample, we can recommend the best treatment option for you.

Potentially harmful contaminates we test for in our laboratory under the Safe Drinking Water Program include:

  • Nitrate, Nitrogen
  • Total Coliform Bacteria
  • E. Coli Bacteria
  • Fluoride

Additional Testing We Can Do for You

Our lab isn’t limited to just the tests named above. Our experienced, very knowledgeable technicians can also test your drinking water for a variety of other substances, in addition to these 10 most-asked-for tests:

  • Hardness
  • Iron
  • Low pH
  • Manganese
  • Lead
  • Sulfates
  • Chlorine
  • Tannins
  • Copper
  • Arsenic

If the substances you need tested aren’t listed above, be sure to ask us.

Testing your water and collecting a water sample

Ever wonder how often you should test your well, and for what? The Minnesota Department of Health recommends testing every year for the presence of nitrates and coliform bacteria. If your well is new, test for nitrates and coliform before you drink the water.

Did you know? Water testing is often required when buying real estate – whether the loan is conventional, FHA, or VA.

Generally, coliform bacteria and nitrates are tests that are required, but testing for lead may also be needed. Your realtor, title company, or lending institution professional will be able to tell you which tests you’ll need.

Usually a third party, such as a laboratory technician, and not the buyer or seller, collects the sample. Allow plenty of time before your closing date, since some tests will require more time to complete, while others may need retesting.

As a licensing requirement, daycare businesses that have private wells must also have annual water tests performed.

Bacteria can cause such things as abdominal cramping or diarrhea. Nitrites can be responsible for “blue-baby syndrome,” and lead can cause still other health problems. That’s why we strongly suggest, if you’re pregnant or if you have small children at home, that you regularly test for these substances – to be on the safe, healthy side.

How to collect a water sample and what it will cost depends on what tests you’re having done. The Traut Water Analysis Lab can explain the best way to take the sample(s) and any other details, call 320-251-5090 or email suef@trautcompanies.com.

Most Common Drinking Water Tests

Coliform Bacteria

Coliform bacteria live everywhere – on the surface of the ground, and often in the first few feet of soil. Generally, coliform bacteria don’t cause disease -- but they are known as “indicator bacteria” and for a good reason: they can survive under the same conditions as the more harmful bacteria such as E. coli, salmonella, and other disease causing organisms. If testing shows coliform is present in your well water, it indicates that soil surface contamination has worked its way into your well where the disease organisms may also be present.

Coliform bacteria serve as a reliable “indicator” because it takes about the same amount of disinfectant to get rid of them as it takes to get rid of disease-causing organisms.

Nitrate (NO3)

Nitrate (NO3) occurs naturally – in the air, soil, water, and in plants. This nitrogen and oxygen chemical can seep into and contaminate your well water where fertilizers, failing septic systems, or animal wastes are most concentrated.

You may have heard of “blue baby syndrome.” It’s a condition that can happen in infants younger than six months. They’re at risk because the bacterium in their digestive system converts nitrates into nitrites, a chemical that can interfere with the blood’s ability to carry oxygen. The condition is called methemoglobinemia, or “blue baby syndrome.” In the most serious cases, the baby ‘s skin, particularly around the eyes and mouth, will become bluish.


Lead, a common metal, was once used in countless consumer goods. Even though its use has been reduced due to the severe health risks it poses, lead can still be found in lead-based paint and in plumbing in older homes.

Lead can exist everywhere, exposing us to trace amounts daily, usually without adverse health effects. However, it is not typically found in well water. Lead easily dissolves in water. That’s why it’s problematic for household pipes, faucets, valves, and/or fittings. When water stands for long periods, dissolved metals can make it harmful to drink.

Try this: If the faucets you use for drinking or cooking have not been used for 6 hours or longer, turn the cold water tap on first and allow the water to run for one or two minutes. Do this regularly, and you’ll greatly reduce your lead exposure.

Lead can also be removed from the water with a home treatment system from Traut Companies. Visit Water Treatment page.


Fluoride occurs naturally in some underground formations, so it’s a good idea to test fluoride levels in your well.

At levels between 0.9 and 1.2 mg/L, fluoride can be very beneficial. At levels higher than 4 mg/L, fluoride can cause mottling on teeth and bones and teeth can become brittle.

Water supplies with more-than-desired fluoride can be fitted with home treatment systems that will reduce fluoride presence. Visit Water Treatment page.

Chlorinating and Disinfecting Your Well

Eliminating or reducing various kinds of bacteria can be very beneficial for your well, and will reduce those “funny” tastes and odors you may be noticing.

It’s possible to disinfect and chlorinate your well yourself, here’s how:

  • Contact us! We’ll give you instructions on what to do and how to go about these processes.
  • Or, contact the Minnesota Department of Health and ask for their help.
  • Or, rely on us to handle this important task for you. Remember, we’re just a phone call away! 320-251-5090

Contact Traut Companies Water Analysis Lab at (320) 251-5090 or (800) 728-5091 or email suef@trautcompanies.com.