David Cwiertny

Iowans have a new tool to look up information on their drinking water wells.

Researchers at the University of Iowa have built an interactive online map for residents, engineers and well drillers. U-I engineering professor David Cwiertny helped design the map so users can see how deep wells are dug and look for testing results on nitrates, bacteria and arsenic.

Cwiertny says, “We’ve been testing for those for some time and can we get that data out there so people can see it, understand what’s been collected historically and help that to inform decisions about where wells might go, or maybe not want to go.”

The well forecasting system is now available on the website of the U-I’s Hydroscience and Engineering program. “That’s a win-win,” he says. “That’s a very useful benefit from this site, is not just to inform drillers but also help agencies figure out, here’s where we could use a little more information. Why don’t we now, based upon the historical record, go prioritize in that area?”

It’s estimated 300,000 Iowans rely on private wells for their drinking water. Free testing for potential contaminants is available through the Iowa Department of Public Health.

(Thanks to Iowa Public Radio’s Kate Payne/U-I photo))