Numerous private water well screenings set for early May

The Texas Well Owner Network is hosting several water well screenings in early May for residents in Brewster, Crockett, Culberson, Ector and Midland, Hudspeth, Jeff Davis, Presidio, Reeves and Terrell counties. These events will give area residents the opportunity to have their well water screened.

The screenings are presented by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and Texas Water Resources Institute, or TWRI, in partnership with the AgriLife Extension offices and groundwater conservation districts, GCDs, in those counites.

Each screening drop-off event will be from 8:30-10 a.m. Registration links, dates and locations for the screenings, as well as dates, times and locations for follow-up meetings explaining the screening results are:

John Smith, AgriLife Extension program specialist, 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 or groundwater conservation district 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.

The samples must be turned in by 10:00 a.m. on the indicated day. The cost for each sample is $10.

Smith said private water wells should be tested annually. Samples will be screened for contaminants, including total coliform bacteria, E. coli, nitrate-nitrogen and salinity.

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.

“Water with nitrate-nitrogen at levels of 10 parts per million is considered unsafe for human consumption,” Smith 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. Infants less than 6 months of age and young livestock are most susceptible.”

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.

Smith said it is extremely important for those submitting samples to be at the respective follow-up meeting to receive results, learn corrective measures for identified problems and improve their understanding of private well management.

For more information on screening events:

  • Brewster County, call AgriLife Extension at 432-837-6207 or the GCD at 432-386-3437
  • Crockett County, call AgriLife Extension at 325-392-2721 or the Crockett County GCD at 325-226-5156
  • Culberson County, call AgriLife Extension at 432-283-8440 or the GCD at 432-283-1548
  • Ector County, call AgriLife Extension at 432-498-4071 or the Midland County Extension Office at 432-686-4700
  • Hudspeth County, call AgriLife Extension at 915-369-2291 or the Underground Water Conservation District at 915-964-2932
  • Jeff Davis-Brewster County, call AgriLife Extension at 432-837-6207 or the Underground Water Conservation District at 432-426-3441
  • Presidio County, call AgriLife Extension at 432-729-4746 or the Underground Water Conservation District at 432-295-2568
  • Terrell County call, AgriLife Extension at 432-345-2291 or the GCD at 972-345-7895

To learn more about the programs offered through the network or to find additional publications and resources, please visit

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 College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M University.

Contact: John Smith, 979-204-0573, or Joel Pigg, 830-275-3866,



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