New Waves April 2011

Breaking news about water resources research and education in Texas

Well screenings and training available from the Texas Well Owner Network

Owners of private water wells in several South and Central Texas counties can get their water screened for possible contaminants in the coming months through a program offered through a partnership of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service and the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board, according to an AgriLife Extension specialist.

Dr. Diane Boellstorff, AgriLife Extension specialist, said the Texas Well Owner Network (TWON) is conducting water well screenings in different counties throughout Texas to test for possible common contaminants, including fecal coliform bacteria, nitrates and high salinity.

“More than 1 million private water wells in Texas provide water to citizens in rural areas and, more recently, to those living on small acreages at the growing rural-urban interface,” she said. “Because private well owners are independently responsible for monitoring the quality of their wells, they are at a greater risk for exposure to compromised water quality and should have their wells tested annually.”

Well screenings will be available in the following counties: Starr, Brooks, Duval, Jim Hogg, Jim Wells, Live Oak, Colorado, Austin, Jack, Stonewall, Victoria, Webb, Palo Pinto, Parker, Stephens, Young, Hood, and Somervell. The cost is $10 per sample. Interested owners will need to pick up a sample bag and instructions from their county AgriLife Extension office.

View the full schedule to see when and where TWON will be conducting well screenings.

Along with the screenings and one-hour educational programs, Boellstorff said that TWON will begin expanded educational programs for private well owners next year. “This program will focus on educating private well owners about potential pollutant sources and what steps can be taken to lessen potential impacts from these sources,” she said.

TWON, funded by the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board through an U.S. Environmental Protection Agency nonpoint source grant, is a collaboration of the Texas Water Resources Institute, AgriLife Extension’s departments of Soil and Crop Sciences and Biological and Agricultural Engineering, and the Texas Alliance of Groundwater Districts.

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