Several private water well screenings, trainings set for mid-June

The Texas Well Owner Network is hosting several “Well Informed” water well screenings and “Well Educated” trainings in mid-June for residents in Wise, Jack, Montague, Parker, Hill, Ellis, Johnson and Somervell counties.

These events will give area residents the opportunity to have their well water screened and learn more about keeping their wells in good working condition. 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.

“Well Informed” events consist of a well water sample drop off, followed the next day by an hour-long event explaining the results of the screening. People interested in attending one of these events must attend both days; both the sample drop-off and the informational meeting. “Well Educated” events are primarily a four-hour educational event to learn about well water, well maintenance and other valuable well-related information. “Well Educated” participants may submit well water samples the day before, but it is not required.

Event details and logistics

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

The importance of being well informed

John Smith, AgriLife Extension program specialist, Bryan-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 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.

More than a million private water wells in Texas provide water to citizens in rural areas and increasingly to those living on small acreages at the growing rural-urban interface. Private well owners are independently responsible for monitoring the quality of their wells.

“They are responsible for all aspects of ensuring their drinking water system is safe — testing, inspecting, maintaining it,” Joel Pigg, TWON coordinator, said. “This training will help private well owners to understand and care for their wells.”

For more information regarding the events

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, 979-845-1461,



Share this post

Learn More