Private water well screenings set for Barton Spring Edwards Aquifer Conservation District July 10-11

The Texas Well Owner Network is hosting upcoming events in the Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conservation District, BSEACD, July 10-11 to allow residents living within the district’s boundaries to have their well water screened.

Joel Pigg, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service program specialist, College Station, said the Texas Well Owner Network, or TWON, 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, nitrate-nitrogen and salinity.

Water sampling and meeting information

July 10, water samples can be dropped off from 8:30 - 10:30 a.m. at the BSEACD office, 1124 Regal Row, Austin.

July 11, the follow-up meeting to explain the results of the screenings will be 10 - 11 a.m. at the BSEACD office meeting room at 1124 Regal Row, Austin.

Sampling instructions

Pigg said area residents wanting to have their well water screened should pick up sample bags, bottle and instructions from the local AgriLife Extension office before the date of the event.  The Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conservation District will be covering the sample fee associated with this program.

“It is very important that only sampling bags and bottles 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

Pigg 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 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 For more information on the water screening contact Pigg at 979-321-5946 or

The screenings are presented by AgriLife Extension and Texas Water Resources Institute, TWRI, in partnership with the Barton Spring Edwards Aquifer Conservation District.

Funding for TWON is through a Clean Water Act Section 319(h) 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.


As communications manager, Leslie Lee leads TWRI's communications and marketing strategy and team, manages TWRI's publications, and coordinates effective communications support for TWRI's numerous projects serving the state of Texas.

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