The Texas Well Owner Network is hosting several “Well Informed” water well screenings and “Well Educated” trainings in early June.
These events will give residents of Bee, Brooks, Duval, Kendy, Kleberg and Nueces counties the opportunity to have their well water screened and to learn more about keeping well water safe and wells in good working condition.
The screenings are presented by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and Texas Water Resources Institute, TWRI, in partnership with county AgriLife Extension offices and groundwater conservation districts, GCDs, in those counties.
Registration for the events is at https://tx.ag/TWONTrainings. There is no cost for the events or the sample screenings.
Becoming well informed, well educated
“Well Informed” events consist of a well water sample drop-off, followed the next day by an hour-long event explaining the results of the screening. People interested must participate in both the sample drop-off and informational meeting.
“Well Educated” events are typically a four-hour educational event to learn about well water, well maintenance and other valuable well-related information. “Well Educated” participants wanting testing of their well water must submit samples the day before the event but it is not required to submit samples to attend.
John Smith, AgriLife Extension program specialist, Bryan-College Station, said area residents wanting to have their well water screened should pick up a sample bag, bottle and instructions from their local AgriLife Extension office or groundwater conservation district office.
“It is very important that only sampling bags and bottles from the AgriLife Extension office be used and all instructions for proper sampling are followed to ensure accurate results,” Smith said.
Smith said it is extremely important for those submitting samples to be at the respective follow-up meeting to receive results, learn corrective measures for identified problems and improve their understanding of private well management.
Event dates, details and logistics
Dates, times and locations for the water well sample screenings and follow-up meetings explaining the results are as follows:
— June 6-7, Beeville
The “Well Informed” water sample drop-off will be June 6 from 8:30–10 a.m. at the AgriLife Extension office in Bee County, 210 E. Corpus Christi St., or the Bee County Groundwater Conservation District, 169 S. Farm-to-Market Road 352. The meeting explaining screening results will be June 7 at 3 p.m. at the Bee County Expo Center, 214 Farm-to-Market Road 351. For more information, please contact the AgriLife Extension office at 361-621-1552 or the Bee County Groundwater Conservation District at 361-358-2244.
–June 6-7, Robstown
The “Well Informed” water sample drop-off will be on June 6 from 8:30–10 a.m. at the AgriLife Extension office for Nueces County, 710 E. Main Ave., Suite 1, Robstown. The results meeting will be June 7 at 6 p.m. at the same location. For more information, contact the AgriLife Extension office at 361-767-5223.
–June 7-8, Benavides
The “Well Informed” water sample drop-off will be on June 7 from 8:30–10 a.m. at the AgriLife Extension office in Duval County, 131 W Main St., or the Duval County Groundwater Conservation District, 231 E. Railroad Ave. The meeting covering screening results will be June 8 at 6 p.m. at the Duval County Groundwater Conservation District. For more information, contact the AgriLife Extension office at 361-279-6379 or the Duval County Groundwater Conservation District at 361-256-3589.
–June 7-8, Falfurrias
A “Well Educated” training will be held June 8 from 8 a.m.-noon at Brush Country Groundwater Conservation, 732 W. Rice, Falfurrias. A light lunch will be provided following the training. Well owners who would like to have their well water tested can pick up three sample containers and collection instructions in the week before the event from the AgriLife Extension office in Brooks County, 219 S. Calixto Mora Ave., Falfurrias; AgriLife Extension office in Jim Hogg County, 109 E. Santa Clara Street, Hebbronville; AgriLife Extension office in Jim Wells County, 200 N. Almond Street, B110, Alice; Kenedy County Groundwater Conservation District office, 365 La Parra Ave., Sarita; or the Brush Country Groundwater Conservation District office. Water sample drop-off will be June 7 from 8-10 a.m. at the same locations. In addition to registering online, attendees may also register by calling 979-845-1461. Participants should also RSVP to the Brush Country Groundwater Conservation District at 361-325-5093 by June 3 so a head count for lunch can be collected.
–June 8-9, Kingsville
A “Well Informed” meeting will be held at 3 p.m. June 9 at the AgriLife Extension office in Kleberg County, 729 E. Yoakum Ave., Kingsville. The water screening drop-off will be on June 8 from 8:30–10 a.m. at the AgriLife Extension office for Kleberg County. For more information, please contact the AgriLife Extension office at 361-595-8566.
The importance of well testing
Smith said private water wells should be tested annually. Samples will be screened for contaminants, including total coliform bacteria, E. coli, nitrate-nitrogen and salinity.
Smith said research shows the presence of E. coli bacteria in water indicates that waste from humans or warm-blooded animals may have contaminated the water. Water contaminated with E. coli is more likely to also have pathogens present that can cause diarrhea, cramps, nausea or other symptoms.
The presence of nitrate-nitrogen in well water is also a concern.
“Water with nitrate-nitrogen at levels of 10 parts per million is considered unsafe for human consumption,” Smith said. “These nitrate levels above 10 parts per million can disrupt the ability of blood to carry oxygen throughout the body, resulting in a condition called methemoglobinemia. Infants less than 6 months of age and young livestock are most susceptible.”
Salinity as measured by total dissolved solids will also be determined for each sample, he said. Water with high levels may leave deposits and have a salty taste. Using water with high levels for irrigation may damage soil or plants.
To learn more about the programs offered through the network or to find additional publications and resources, please visit http://twon.tamu.edu.
Funding for the Texas Well Owner Network is through a Clean Water Act nonpoint source grant provided by the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The project is managed by TWRI, part of Texas A&M AgriLife Research, AgriLife Extension and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M University.