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Health Department



Water Quality


You can get your water tested through our laboratory.  It is certified by the state to test drinking water.  We offer water testing for homeowners, renters, and public water utilities.



When to test

Recommendations for testing vary, depending on the source of your water (private well or municipal water), age of your home, and who lives in your household.  


Private well owners

You should test your water each year for bacteria and nitrate.  Test sooner if there has been flooding in the area or if you notice changes in taste, odor, or appearance of the water. 


It is very important to test for nitrate in households with pregnant people, infants, and young children.  Nitrate can reduce the blood's ability to carry oxygen.  In infants it can cause a serious condition called blue baby syndrome.


The age and type of plumbing may indicate a need for additional testing to check for lead and other metals.  While lead is less of an issue in private wells, it can be found in some pumps or valves used in private wells.


Tests for Drinking Water from Private Wells


Municipal water customers

If you pay a water bill, you have water that comes from a municipal water utility.  The water utility tests the water regularly and makes sure that you have safe drinking water.


You can test for water quality problems that may come from your plumbing such as lead, copper, manganese, or bacterial contamination.


You should test for lead if:

  • You have lead piping or solder
  • The system that brings water to where you live has lead piping or solder
  • You have galvanized steel pipes


We can help figure out if you have lead pipes.  Lead levels may vary widely throughout the home so do not rely on just one good test.


Water can look cloudy or discolored when water mains are flushed for cleaning and maintenance.  The water should clear up after running for a few minutes.  It does not usually mean testing is needed.  If the water does not become clear, call your local water utility.


Other water testing

We test more than just drinking water.  We can test area lakes, streams, and rivers for indicators of environmental conditions.








Health Department Office Location
2nd Floor, 300 4th St. N.
La Crosse, WI 54601

Main Business Phone: 608-785-9872
Main Fax: 608-785-9846
[email protected]
In a public health emergency call 911
WI Relay Service and Interpretation Services Available

Office Hours: 8:00am to 4:30pm Monday-Friday; some service hours may vary

Collaboratively promoting a healthful community for all people.