The Texas Well Owner Network is hosting a “Well Informed” water well screening event Nov. 14 in Abilene to give area residents the opportunity to have their well water tested. A meeting explaining the results will be Nov. 18.
Water samples can be dropped off from 8:30-10 a.m. Nov. 14 at the AgriLife Extension office for Taylor County, 1981 Lytle Way. The cost is $15 per sample.
A follow-up meeting to explain the results of the screenings will be at 10 a.m. Nov. 18 at the same location.
Joel Pigg, AgriLife Extension program specialist and TWON coordinator, Bryan-College Station, said the program is for Texas residents who depend on household wells for their water needs.
Pigg said it is extremely important for those submitting samples to be at the Nov. 18 meeting to receive individual test results, learn corrective measures for identified problems and improve their understanding of private well management.
“It is very important that only sampling bags and bottles that have been picked up from the AgriLife Extension office be used and that all instructions for proper sampling are followed to ensure accurate results,” Pigg said.
Private water wells should be tested annually, he said. The well samples will be screened for contaminants, including total coliform bacteria, E. coli, nitrate-nitrogen and salinity.
Well water contaminants, concerns
Pigg 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,” Pigg 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 Taylor County at 325-672-6048.
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.