The Texas Well Owner Network, TWON, is hosting two upcoming events in northeast Texas on April 24 to allow residents to have their well water screened: a “Well Educated” water well screening in Mount Pleasant and a “Well Informed” water well screening in Longview and Marshall.
Joel Pigg, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service program specialist and TWON coordinator, College Station, said the TWON Well Informed program is for Texas residents who depend on household wells for their water needs.
“The Well Educated program was established to help well owners become familiar with Texas groundwater resources, septic system maintenance, well maintenance and construction, and water quality and treatment,” he said. “It allows them to learn more about how to improve and protect their community water resources.”
Water samples will be screened for contaminants, including total coliform bacteria, E. coli, nitrate-nitrogen and salinity.
Water sampling and meeting information
— Mount Pleasant area: April 24, water samples can be dropped off from 8:30-10 a.m. at the AgriLife Extension office for Titus County, 1708 Industrial Road, Mount Pleasant; Morris County, 501 Crockett St., Suite 2, Daingerfield; Camp County, 115 Dr. M.L. King Ave., Suite D, Pittsburg; or Franklin and Delta counties at 200 N. Kaufman St., Mount Vernon. The cost of water sample screening is $15 per sample.
On April 27, the follow-up meeting to explain the results of the screenings will be at 8 a.m. at the AgriLife Extension office in Titus County.
— Longview and Marshall area: April 24, water samples can be dropped off from 8:30-10 a.m. at the AgriLife Extension office for Gregg County, 405 E. Marshall Ave., Suite 101, Longview, or the AgriLife Extension office for Harrison County, 102 W. Houston St., Marshall.
The follow-up meeting to explain the results of the screenings will be at 6 p.m. April 25 at Gold Hall, 101 Elm Street, Hallsville.
Pigg 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.
“It is very important that only sampling bags and bottles from the AgriLife Extension offices be used, and all instructions for proper sampling are followed to ensure accurate results,” he 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.
Pigg said it is essential for those submitting samples to be at the appropriate follow-up meeting to receive results, learn corrective measures for identified problems and improve their understanding of private well management.
Well water contaminants, concerns
John Smith, AgriLife Extension program specialist, Bryan-College Station, 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 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 https://twon.tamu.edu. For more information on the water screening in the Titus County area, contact Pigg at 979-845-1461 or email@example.com. For more information on the water screening in the Gregg and Harrison counties area, contact Pigg, or Smith at 979-204-0573 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The screenings are presented by AgriLife Extension and Texas Water Resources Institute, TWRI, in partnership with the AgriLife Extension offices in Titus County, Morris County, Camp County, Franklin/Delta counties, Gregg County and Harrison County.
Funding for TWON 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.
Story written by Leslie Lee