HARTFORD — A day of games, giveaways, music and snacks will fill Ely Park on Sept. 12.

The Van Buren Conservation District’s “Healthy Home Fair” is set for 3-6 p.m. at Ely Park in Hartford. The event is free and open to the public.

“We’re highlighting some of the actions people can take in their homes and yards to keep their environment clean and healthy,” said Erin Fuller, of the Van Buren Conservation District. “People don’t always know how to properly dispose of household chemicals, test their well water or maintain their septic systems, so we’ll be having fun with activities, demonstrations and giveaways to help with some of these less-than-fun tasks.”

Summit Fire Protection will offer free inspections of home fire extinguishers. If the inspection indicates fire extinguishers need to be recharged or replaced, those services are available for a fee.

Attendees can enter free drawings for chances to win grocery gift cards, a rain barrel and septic system pump-out vouchers. Other giveaways will include tote bags, reusable straws, tap water testing coupons and more.

Conservation staff will also perform free well water screening for nitrates on site. Nitrates in drinking water can be dangerous to health, especially infants and the elderly. The screening is open to all Van Buren County residents that are on private water systems (non-municipal wells) for drinking water. 

Follow these directions to sample a well:

• Pick a tap that supplies water that has not run through any treatment devices (water softener, carbon filter, RO system, etc.). An outdoor faucet often works well.

• Run the water for 20-30 minutes before collecting the sample to flush the water pressure tank and plumbing so you can collect a valid sample. Do not sample through a hose.

• Any clean container can be used for sample collection. Rinse the sample bottle and lid thoroughly in the water to be sampled, then fill and cap the bottle.

• Label the bottle with your name, date, and the well name (ex. main home, back yard, barn) using a waterproof pen.

• Keep the sample dark and cold for up to 24 hours before bringing it to the Healthy Home Fair for screening.

The fair is funded in part through the Michigan Department of Energy, Great Lakes and Environment’s Nonpoint Source Program by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. For more information, contact the Van Buren Conservation District at 657-4030 Ext. 5 or visit www.vanburencd.org.