Private water well screenings set for April in several South Texas counties

COLLEGE STATION — The Texas Well Owner Network will offer water well screenings in April for 10 South Texas counties, said program coordinators.

The screenings will be held in Atascosa, Cameron, Dimmit, Frio, Hidalgo, La Salle, McMullen, Webb, Willacy and Zavala counties to give residents the opportunity to have their well water screened.

The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and Texas Water Resources Institute are partnering with the network on these programs.

A Texas Well Owner Newtork training will be held Nov. 20 in Cuero. (Texas Well Owners network photo by

A series of well water screenings in South Texas will be provided by the Texas Well Owners Network during April.  (Texas Well Owners Network photo)

“Private water wells should be tested annually,” said John Smith, AgriLife Extension program specialist, College Station.

He said those submitting samples should use only sampling bags and bottles from their respective AgriLife Extension office and follow the included instructions carefully to ensure accurate results.

A $10 per sample fee will be collected when bags and bottles are picked up by participants. Bottles and bags will be available at least a week before the turn-in dates.

Samples will be screened for common contaminants, including total coliform bacteria, E. coli, nitrate-nitrogen and salinity.

Dates, times and locations for the screenings will be:

– April 18 from 8:30-9:30 a.m. Sample bags and bottles should be turned in at the AgriLife Extension office for Cameron County, 1390 W. Expressway 83, in San Benito. A follow-up meeting to explain screening results will be held at 6:30 p.m. April 19 at the Texas A&M Research and Extension Center, 2415 E. Hwy 83 in Weslaco.

– April 18 from 8:30-9:30 a.m. Sample bags and bottles should be turned in at the AgriLife Extension office for Hidalgo County, 410 N. 13th Ave. in Edinburg. A follow-up meeting to explain screening results will be held at 6:30 p.m. April 19, at the Texas A&M Research and Extension Center in Weslaco.

– April 18 from 8:30-9:30 a.m. Sample bags and bottles should be turned in at the AgriLife Extension office for Willacy County, 170 N. 3rd  St. in Raymondville. A follow-up meeting to explain screening results will be held at 6:30 p.m. April 19, at the Texas A&M Research and Extension Center in Weslaco.

– April 19 from 8:30-9:30 a.m. Sample bags and bottles should be turned in at the AgriLife Extension office for Webb County, 7209 E. Saunders St., Suite 5, in Laredo. A follow-up meeting to explain screening results will be held at 7 p.m. April 20  at the same AgriLife Extension office.

– April 19 from 8:30-9:30 a.m. Sample bags and bottles should be turned in at the AgriLife Extension office for Jim Hogg County, 201 N. Oak, Suite 9 in Hebbronville. A follow-up meeting to explain screening results will be held at 7 p.m. April 20 at the AgriLife Extension office for Webb County.

– April 20 from 8:30-9:30 a.m. Sample bags and bottles should be turned in at the AgriLife Extension office for Atascosa County, 25 E. 5th St. in Leming. A follow-up meeting to explain screening results will be held at 6 p.m. April 21 at the AgriLife Extension office for Frio County, 400 S. Pecan St. in Pearsall.

– April 20 from 8:30-9:30 a.m. Sample bags and bottles should be turned in at the AgriLife Extension office for Dimmitt County, 303 S. 5th St. in Carrizo Springs. A follow-up meeting to explain screening results will be held at 6 p.m. April 21 at the AgriLife Extension office for Frio County, 400 S. Pecan St. in Pearsall.

– April 20 from 8:30-9:30 a.m. Sample bags and bottles should be turned in at the AgriLife Extension office for Frio County. A follow-up meeting to explain screening results will be held at 6 p.m. April 21 at the AgriLife Extension office for Frio County.

– April 20 from 8:30-9:30 a.m. Sample bags and bottles should be turned in at the AgriLife Extension office for LaSalle County, 101 Courthouse Square, Ste. 215 in Cotulla. A follow-up meeting to explain screening results will be held at 6 p.m. April 21 at the AgriLife Extension office for Frio County.

– April 20 from 8:30-9:30 a.m. Sample bags and bottles should be turned in at the AgriLife Extension office for McMullen County at the county courthouse, U.S. Highway 72 and 16 in Tilden. A follow-up meeting to explain screening results will be held at 6 p.m. April 21 at the AgriLife Extension office for Frio County.

– April 20 from 8:30-9:30 a.m. sample bags and bottles should be turned in at the AgriLife Extension office for Zavala County, 221 N. 1st Ave. in Crystal City. A follow-up meeting to explain screening results will be held at 6 p.m. April 21 at the AgriLife Extension office for Frio County.

At the programs for Cameron, Hidalgo, Willacy and Webb counties, Jaime Flores, watershed coordinator for the Arroyo Colorado Watershed Protection Plan, will discuss ongoing programs.

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

“Water with nitrate-nitrogen at levels of 10 parts per million is considered unsafe for human consumption,” Smith 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. Infants less than six months of age and young livestock are most susceptible.”

He said water with high saline levels may leave deposits and have a salty taste, and using water with high salinity 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.

For more information for the Atascosa County screening, call 830-224-0366. For the Cameron County screening, call 956-361-8236. For the Dimmitt County screening, call 830-876-4216. For the Frio County screening, call 830-334-0099. For the Hidalgo County screening, call 956-383-1026. For the Jim Hogg County screening, call 361-527-3737. For the LaSalle County screening, call 830-483-5165. For the McMullen County screening, call 361-274-3323. For the Webb County screening, call 956-523-5290. For the Willacy County screening, call 956-689-2412. For the Zavala County screening, call 830-374-2883.

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.

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.

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