With abnormal fall flooding in the Southeast this year, the Seine Rat River Conservation District held a free well-water testing day and it was surprisingly successful.

SRRCD Vice-Chair Jake Hiebert

Jake Hiebert is the Vice-Chair of the Seine Rat River Conservation District Board. He says they don’t normally offer free well water testing in fall, but they thought it was important this year due to the circumstances.

"This fall has been an unusual year for people in Manitoba with a 1 in 100-year rainfall. There was a lot of overland flooding resulting in many wells being contaminated. Although water testing is not one of the mandates of the Seine River Rat River Conservation District, our committee thought it important to assist the many well-owners in our area in order to avoid sickness."

Read more: Some Wells Contaminated By Flooding, Water Testing Advised

Hiebert says this was a one-day event and everyone who wanted to be a part had to bring their samples to various drop-off locations on November 7th. He notes far more people took advantage of the offer than they planned for.

"We were expecting 200 people to apply, but instead we received 433 water samples for testing. Because our committee thought it so important under the extenuating circumstances this year, we delivered and paid the full $9,770 cost resulting in zero cost to the owners. Out of these 433 tests conducted, the lab has contacted 67 land-owners regarding positive tests for both E. coli and Coliform bacteria."

The free well-water testing day cost the conservation district twice as much as they expected but Hiebert notes residents dealing with overland flooding had enough problems without having well-water testing added to their plate, so they are just happy to have helped.