LONGVIEW — The Texas Well Owner Network is hosting a water well screening from 8:30-10 a.m. March 10 at the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service office for Gregg County, 405 E. Marshall Ave., Suite 101 in Longview.
This activity will give area residents the opportunity to bring in their private well water for testing, and a meeting at the AgriLife Extension office at 6:30 p.m. on March 11 will explain screening results.
“Private water wells should be tested annually,” said John W. Smith, AgriLife Extension program specialist, College Station. “It is very important that only sampling bags from the AgriLife Extension office be used and all instructions for proper sampling are followed to ensure accurate results.”
Smith said residents can pick up sample bags and instructions at the AgriLife Extension office or call 903-236-8428 for more information.
The cost is $10 per sample and samples must be turned in by 10 a.m. on the day of the screening. Samples will be screened for common contaminants, including fecal coliform bacteria, nitrates and high salinity.
The presence of fecal coliform bacteria in water indicates that waste from humans or warm-blooded animals may have contaminated the water. Water contaminated with fecal coliform bacteria is more likely to also have pathogens present that can cause diarrhea, cramps, nausea or other symptoms.
“Water with nitrates at levels of 10 parts per million is considered unsafe for human consumption,” Smith said. “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. Water with high levels may leave deposits and have a salty taste, and 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 meeting to receive results, learn corrective measures for identified problems and to improve understanding of private well management.
To learn more about the programs offered through the network or to find additional publications and resources, go to http://twon.tamu.edu.
Support for the Texas Well Owner Network program is provided through Clean Water Act nonpoint source funding from the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.