The Cooper County Public Health Center offers free well water testing for county residents, and it’s reminding well users to take advantage of the program.

While public water supplies are filtered and disinfected before they make their way to customers, people who get their water from private wells are responsible for treating their own water. People who use well water should get their well tested at least once a year to make sure their supply isn’t contaminated, said health center staff member Tom White. Shallow wells and surface water should be tested seasonally, according to the Groundwater Foundation.

Wells aren’t regulated much. Any private resident can dig a hole, so some wells may not be installed correctly, White said. The ground around the borehole should be sloped instead of flat, so water runs off instead of pooling around the hole and seeping in, White said as an example.

The health center offers testing for free through the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, which can determine if there is bacteria in the water. If well owners take their own sample, they’ll have to pay the state to test it, White said. If they call the health center, the center can send someone to take a sample for free, he said.

The health center can be reached at 660-882-2626.