Environmental Policy

Online Map Helps Iowans Learn More About Their Well Water

Screen shot of Iowa well forecasting system website

A team of University of Iowa researchers, including David Cwiertny, Director of the Environmental Policy Research Program, has developed an interactive online map which allows Iowans to learn more about their private wells, in terms of location and water quality.

The searchable map includes information about the depth of wells, and the presence of contaminants such as nitrates, arsenic, and bacteria. This information can help well drillers and residents make decisions on the placement and depth of new wells. The map was developed in a collaboration among the Center for Health Effects of Environmental Contamination (CHEEC), the University of Iowa Hydroinformatics Lab, the Iowa Geological Survey, and IIHR - Hydroscience and Engineering, and uses years of public health data.

Iowa's Department of Natural Resources and Department of Public Health provide free private well testing through the Grants to Counties program. While that data is available in an online database, the interactive map helps drillers to visualize the information and make better decisions about where or where not to drill new wells.

The Iowa Well Forecasting System is available on the IIHR - Hydroscience and Engineering website.