The Texas Well Owner Network, TWON, is hosting six upcoming events in the Rolling Plains on Sept. 25-28 to allow residents to have their well water screened.
Two “Well Educated” water well screenings will be in Benjamin and Springtown and four “Well Informed” water well screenings will be in Granbury, Henrietta, Montague and Vernon.
Joel Pigg, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service program specialist and TWON coordinator, Bryan-College Station, said the program is for Texas residents who depend on household wells for their water needs.
“The TWON 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, arsenic, nitrate-nitrogen and salinity.
There will be a $15 per sample cost for the water well screening, unless otherwise noted.
Water sampling and meeting information
— Granbury area: Sept. 25, water samples can be dropped off from 8:30-10 a.m. at the AgriLife Extension office for Hood County, Hood County Annex 1, Room 22, 1410 W. Pearl St. in Granbury or the Upper Trinity Groundwater Conservation District, GCD, office, 1859 W. Highway 199 in Springtown.
The follow-up meeting to explain the results of the screenings will be on Sept. 26 at 6 p.m. at the Texas A&M Forest Service-Granbury, 450 Howard Clemmons Drive.
— Vernon area: Sept. 25, water samples can be dropped off from 8:30-10 a.m. at the AgriLife Extension offices in Wilbarger County, 1700 Wilbarger St., Room 29 in Vernon, or Wichita County, 600 Scott St., Suite 200 in Wichita Falls.
The follow-up meeting to explain the results of the screenings will be Sept. 26 from 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at the Wilbarger County Exhibit Building, 2215 Harold St. in Vernon.
— Clay County and Archer County areas: Sept. 26, water samples can be dropped off from 8:30-10 a.m. at the AgriLife Extension offices for Clay County, 210 W. Ikard St., Suite B in Henrietta, or Archer County, 512 W. Cottonwood St. in Archer City.
The follow-up meeting to explain the results of the screenings will be at 6 p.m. Sept. 28 at Clay County Community Center, 216 N. Hancock St. in Henrietta.
— Rolling Plains area: Sept. 25, water samples can be dropped off from 8:30-10 a.m. at the AgriLife Extension offices for Knox County, 109 E. Hayes St., Benjamin, or Baylor County, 500 N. Main St., Seymour; or the Rolling Plains Groundwater Conservation District office, 135 N. Munday Ave., Munday. There will be no cost for the water well screening.
The follow-up meeting to explain the results of the screenings will be from 8:30 a.m. till 12:30 p.m. Sept. 27 at the AgriLife Extension office in Benjamin.
— Montague area: Water samples can be dropped off on Sept. 26 from 8:30-10 a.m. at the Montague County Annex Community Room, 11339 Texas Highway 59, Montague.
The follow-up meeting to explain the results of the screenings will be at 6 p.m. Sept. 27 at the Montague County Annex.
— Parker County and Wise County areas: Sept. 27, water samples can be dropped off from 8:30-10 a.m. at the AgriLife Extension offices for Parker County, 604 N. Main St., Suite 200 in Weatherford, or for Wise County, 206 S. State St., Suite A in Decatur; or the Upper Trinity Groundwater Conservation District office, 1859 W. Highway 199, Springtown.
The follow-up meeting to explain the results of the screenings will be Sept. 28 from 3-7 p.m. at the Springtown Senior Center, 1070 N. Main St., Springtown.
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, contact Pigg at 979-845-1461 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or Smith at 979-204-0573 or email@example.com.
The screenings are presented by AgriLife Extension and the Texas Water Resources Institute, TWRI, in partnership with the AgriLife Extension offices in Knox, Baylor, Wilbarger, Wichita, Archer, Clay, Montague, Wise, Parker and Hood counties. Additional support is provided by Rolling Plains GCD and the Upper Trinity GCD.
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.