Private water well testing, training scheduled for early June

The Texas Well Owner Network is hosting several “knowledgeable” water well screenings and “well educated” trainings in early June.

Water well analysis samples. (Photo Texas A&M AgriLife)

These events will give residents of Bee, Brooks, Duval, Kendy, Kleberg and Nueces counties the opportunity to have their well water tested and learn more about how to keep well water safe and well in good working order.

Screenings are presented by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and Texas Water Resources Institute, TWRI, in partnership with AgriLife Extension County Offices and Groundwater Conservation Districts, GCDs, in those counties.

Registration for events is at https://tx.ag/TWONTrainings. There is no cost for events or sample screenings.

Become well-informed, well-educated

“Knowledgeable” events consist of a well water sample drop-off, followed the next day by a one-hour event explaining the screening results. Interested persons must participate in both the deposit of samples and the information meeting.

Well-educated events are typically a four-hour educational event to learn about well water, well maintenance, and other valuable well-related information. Well-educated attendees who wish to have their well water tested must submit samples the day before the event, but it is not necessary to submit samples to attend.

John Smith, AgriLife Extension Program Specialist, Bryan-College Station, said area residents who wish to have their well water tested should pick up a sample bag, bottle and instructions from their local AgriLife Extension office. or the district groundwater conservation office.

“It is very important that only AgriLife Extension office sampling bags and bottles are used and that all instructions for proper sampling are followed to ensure accurate results,” Smith said.

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

Event dates, details and logistics

The dates, times and locations for water well sample testing and follow-up meetings explaining the results are as follows:

— June 6-7, Beeville

“Knowledgeable” water sample drop-off will take place June 6 from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the Bee County AgriLife Extension office, 210 E. Corpus Christi St., or the Groundwater Conservation District of Bee County, 169 S. Farm-to-Market Road 352. The meeting explaining the screening results will be held June 7 at 3 p.m. at the Bee County Expo Center, 214 Farm-to-Market Road 351. For more information , please contact the AgriLife Extension office at 361-621-1552 or the Bee County Groundwater Conservation District at 361-358-2244.

–June 6-7, Robstown

The “knowledgeable” water sample drop-off will take place June 6 from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the Nueces County AgriLife Extension office, 710 E. Main Ave., Suite 1, Robstown. The results meeting will take place on June 7 at 6 p.m. at the same location. For more information, contact the AgriLife Extension office at 361-767-5223.

–June 7-8, Benavides

“Knowledgeable” water sample drop-off will take place June 7 from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the AgriLife Extension office in Duval County, 131 W Main St., or the Groundwater Conservation District of Duval County, 231 E. Railroad Ave. The screening results meeting will be held June 8 at 6 p.m. at the Duval County Groundwater Conservation District. For more information, contact the AgriLife Extension office at 361-279-6379 or the Duval County Groundwater Conservation District at 361-256-3589.

–June 7-8, Falfurrias

A “Well Educated” training will be held June 8 from 8 a.m. to noon at Brush Country Groundwater Conservation, 732 W. Rice, Falfurrias. A light meal will be offered after the training. Well owners who wish to have their well water tested can pick up three sample containers and collection instructions in the week prior to the event from the AgriLife Extension office in Brooks County, 219 S. Calixto Mora Ave., falfurrias; AgriLife Extension Jim Hogg County Office, 109 E. Santa Clara Street, Hebbronville; AgriLife Extension Jim Wells County Office, 200 N. Almond Street, B110, Alice; Kenedy County Groundwater Conservation District Office, 365 La Parra Avenue, Sarita; or the Brush Country Groundwater Conservation District office. Water samples will be dropped off on June 7 from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. at the same locations. In addition to registering online, participants can also register by calling 979-845-1461. Attendees should also confirm attendance with the Brush Country Groundwater Conservation District at 361-325-5093 by June 3 so that a lunch count can be collected.

–June 8-9, Kingsville

A “knowledgeable” meeting will be held at 3 p.m. June 9 at the AgriLife Extension office in Kleberg County, 729 E. Yoakum Ave., Kingsville. The water screening drop off will be held June 8 from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the Kleberg County AgriLife Extension office. For more information, please contact the AgriLife Extension office at 361-595-8566.

The Importance of Well Testing

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

Smith said research shows that the presence of E. coli bacteria in the water indicates human waste or warm-blooded animals may have contaminated the water. Water contaminated with E. coli is more likely to also contain pathogens that can cause diarrhea, cramps, nausea or other symptoms.

The presence of nitrate-nitrogen in well water is also of concern.

“Water containing nitrate nitrogen at levels of 10 parts per million is considered unfit for human consumption,” Smith said. “These nitrate levels above 10 parts per million can disrupt the blood’s ability to carry oxygen throughout the body, leading to a condition called methemoglobinemia. Infants under 6 months of age and young livestock animals are the most sensitive.

Salinity measured by total dissolved solids will also be determined for each sample, he said. Water with high levels can leave deposits and taste salty. Using water at high levels for irrigation can damage the soil or plants.

To learn more about the programs offered by the network or to find additional publications and resources, please visit http://twon.tamu.edu.

Funding for the Texas Well Owner Network is provided by a Clean Water Act non-point source grant provided by the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board and the US Environmental Protection Agency. The project is managed by TWRI, which is part of Texas A&M AgriLife Research, AgriLife Extension and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M University.

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