Water well trainings and screenings set for April in the Panhandle

Contacts: Drew Gholson, 979-845-1461, dgholson@tamu.edu

John Smith, 979-845-2761, johnwsmith@tamu.edu

Diane Boellstorff, 979-458-3562, dboellstorff@tamu.edu

COLLEGE STATION — The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service will offer Texas Well Owner Network trainings and screenings throughout the Texas Panhandle in April, said program coordinators.

The Texas Water Resources Institute is partnering with AgriLife Extension and the network on these programs.

“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.”

Several Texas Well Owner Network programs and screenings will be held in the Panhandle during the month of April. (Texas Well Owners network photo)

The Texas Well Owner Network provides “Well Educated” trainings and “Well Informed” screenings that 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 trainings for screening. Screening cost is $10 per sample, due when samples are presented. Gholson said bringing water samples to the training is not required, but those wanting to have water samples analyzed must attend.

The “Well Educated” training will be:

– April 11 from 8 a.m.-noon at the AgriLife Extension office for Randall County, 200 N. Brown Road in Canyon.

Well owners wanting their well sampled can pick up two sample containers from the AgriLife Extension offices for Randall County, 200 N. Brown Road in Canyon; Potter County, 3301 E. 10th Ave. in Amarillo; Oldham County, 110 S. Main St. in Vega; Armstrong County, 100 Trice St. in Claude; Deaf Smith County, 903 14th St. in Hereford; or at the High Plains Water District field office, 301 N. 15th St. in Canyon.

Space is limited, so attendees are requested to register at http://twon.tamu.edu/training or by calling 806-468-5543 as soon as possible.

At the Well Informed screenings, participants can have their well water samples tested. A one-hour explanation of the screening results follows along with recommendations for remediating well contamination if needed.

“Private water wells should be tested annually and our Well Informed screening provides that,” said John Smith, AgriLife Extension program specialist, College Station.

He said well owners 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 participants pick up the bags and bottles. The bags and bottles will be available at least a week before the turn-in dates.

Dates, times and locations for the Well Informed screenings will be:

– April 11 from 8:30–10 a.m. at the AgriLife Extension office for Hansford County, 223 Main St. in Spearman. A follow-up meeting to explain screening results will be held at 6:30 p.m. April 18 at the same location..

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 enhance their 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.

Funding for the Texas Well Owner Network is through a nonpoint source grant provided by the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation board. 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.

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