SOUTH CENTRAL TEXAS — The Texas Well Owner Network is hosting water well screenings from 8:30-10 a.m. April 23 at the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service offices for Atascosa and Frio counties in order to give area residents the opportunity to have their well water tested.
The AgriLife Extension office for Atascosa County is at 1003 Oak St. in Jourdanton. The AgriLife Extension Frio County office is at 400 S. Pecan St. in Pearsall.
A meeting explaining screening results of the samples presented to either office will be held at 6:30 p.m. April 24 at the AgriLife Extension office in Pearsall.
John W. Smith, AgriLife Extension program specialist in College Station, said for area residents to have their well water tested they need to pick up a sample bag and sampling instructions from the AgriLife Extension office in either Jourdanton or Pearsall.
“Private water wells should be tested annually,” Smith said. “It is very important that only sampling bags from the AgriLife Extension offices in Atascosa County or Frio County be used and all instructions for proper sampling are followed to ensure accurate results.”
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 and learn corrective measures for identified problems in order to improve understanding of private well management.
For more information, contact the AgriLife Extension office for Atascosa County at 830-769-3066 or Frio County at 830-334-0099.
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.