FORT STOCKTON – Anyone interested in private water well management in the Pecos River watershed is invited to the free Texas Well Owner Network training Oct. 22 in Fort Stockton.
The training will be held from 8:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m. at the Pecos County Civic Center, 1674 Airport Drive, said Drew Gholson, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service program specialist and network coordinator, College Station.
“The Texas Well Owner Network program is for Texas residents who depend on household wells for their water needs,” Gholson said. “Well owners who want to become familiar with Texas’ groundwater resources, septic system maintenance, well maintenance and construction, water quality and water treatment will benefit from this training.”
Lucas Gregory, the Pecos River watershed coordinator, said protecting water quality was a resource concern addressed in the Pecos River Watershed Protection Plan by local landowners.
“This program will provide those in attendance with useful information that will enable them to better protect and manage their water resources,” he said.
Participants are welcome to bring water well samples to the training so they may be screened. The cost is $10, with payment due when samples are turned in at the training.
“We invite private well owners to bring in a water sample to be screened for nitrate, total dissolved solids and bacteria,” Gholson said.
Well owners who would like to have their well water sampled can pick up the sample bags from the AgriLife Extension office in Pecos, Reeves, Ward, Crane, Upton and Terrell counties. They can also be obtained at the Middle Pecos Groundwater Conservation District office, 405 North Spring Drive in Fort Stockton.
Bringing water samples to the training is not required, Gholson said, but if people want their water samples analyzed, they must attend the training.
He said space is limited, so attendees are requested to register at http://twon.tamu.edu/training or by calling 979-845-1461 as soon as possible.
The training is one of 14 being conducted statewide through the Preventing Water Quality Contamination through the Texas Well Owner Network project.
“The core content of this program is the same as other trainings, but the information is tailored to local water quality issues and aquifers,” he said.
Gholson said more than 1 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,” he said. “They are responsible for ensuring their drinking water is safe. They are responsible for all aspects of the water system — testing, inspecting, maintaining — and this training will help private well owners to understand and care for their wells.”
Funding for Texas Well Owner Network project 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.