Water well trainings, screenings set for May in West Texas

By Paul Schattenberg

The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service will offer Texas Well Owner Network trainings and screenings in May for seven West Texas counties, said program coordinators.

Several water well trainings and screenings will be held in West Texas during May. (Texas A&M AgriLife Communications photo by Steve Byrns)

The Texas Water Resources Institute is partnering with AgriLife Extension and the Texas Well Owner Network on these programs, they said.

“Private well owners in Texas are independently responsible for monitoring the quality of their wells,” said Drew Gholson, AgriLife Extension program specialist and network coordinator, College Station. “They are responsible for ensuring their drinking water is safe. This means they are responsible for all aspects of the water system – testing, inspecting and maintaining.”

The Texas Well Owner Network provides “Well Educated” trainings and “Well Informed” screenings to help private well owners manage their wells, Gholson said. Both events provide opportunities to screen water samples for nitrates, total dissolved solids, E. coli and coliform bacteria.

“The Well Educated trainings were established to help well owners become familiar with Texas groundwater resources, septic system maintenance, well maintenance and construction, and water quality and treatment,” Gholson said.

Participants may bring well-water samples to the programs for screening. The cost is $10 per sample, due when samples are turned in. Bringing water samples to the training is not required, but those wanting to have water samples analyzed must attend.

By May 17 from 8:30-9:30 a.m. Sample bags and bottles should be turned in at the AgriLife Extension office for Culberson County, 300 La Caverna St. in Van Horn. A follow-up meeting to explain screening results will be held at 7:30 p.m. May 18 at the Van Horn Convention Center, 1801 W. Broadway in Van Horn.

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

To learn more about programs offered through the Texas Well Owner Network or to find additional publications and resources, go to http://twon.tamu.edu.  Or contact Lainie Koch, CEA Ag/NR at the Culberson County AgriLife Extention office, 432-283-8440.

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 the Texas Water Resources Institute, part of Texas A&M AgriLife Research, AgriLife Extension and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M University.