The Texas Well Owner Network is hosting a “Well Informed” water well screening July 12 in San Antonio to give area residents the opportunity to have their well water screened. A follow-up meeting July 13 will explain the results of the screenings.
The water sample drop-off will be July 12 from 8:30-10 a.m. at the AgriLife Extension office in Bexar County, 3355 Cherry Ridge St., Suite 208, San Antonio. The cost is $10 per sample. A meeting explaining screening results will be July 13 at 6:30 p.m. at the same location.
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 the AgriLife Extension 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,” he said.
Smith said it is extremely important for those submitting samples to be at the July 13 meeting to receive results, learn corrective measures for identified problems and improve their understanding of private well management
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.
Well water contaminants, concerns
Smith said 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, and water with nitrate-nitrogen at levels of 10 parts per million is considered unsafe for human consumption, he 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,” Smith said. “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, and 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, visit http://twon.tamu.edu. For more information about the meetings, contact the AgriLife Extension office in Bexar County at 210-631-0400.
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 Texas A&M College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.