The Texas Well Owner Network is hosting a “Well Informed” water well screening July 21 in Angleton to give area residents the opportunity to have their well water screened.
Water samples can be dropped off from 8:30-10 a.m. at the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service office for Brazoria County, 21017 County Road 171. The cost is $15 per sample.
The follow-up meeting to explain the results of the screenings will be at 10 a.m. July 23 at the Friends of the River Community Center, 20450 County Road 510B, Holiday Shores Subdivision, Brazoria.
The screening is presented by AgriLife Extension and Texas Water Resources Institute, TWRI, partnership with the AgriLife Extension office in Brazoria County, and the Friends of the River San Bernard.
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,” Smith said.
Private water wells should be tested annually, he said. The samples will be screened for contaminants, including total coliform bacteria, E. coli, nitrate-nitrogen and salinity.
Smith said it is extremely important for those submitting samples to be at the July 23 meeting in order to receive results, learn corrective measures for identified problems and improve their understanding of private well management.
Well water contaminants, concerns
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, 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 to this.”
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, visit http://twon.tamu.edu. For more information, contact the AgriLife Extension office in Brazoria County at 979-864-1558.
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 University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.