Water well trainings, screenings set for July in the Panhandle

Contacts: Drew Gholson, 979.845.1461, dgholson@tamu.edu

John W. Smith, 979.845.2761, johnwsmith@tamu.edu

Diane Boellstorff, 979.458.3562, dboellstorff@tamu.edu

The Texas Well Owner Network will present its Well Informed and Well Educated programs in the Panhandle during July. (Texas Well Owner Network photo by John Smith)

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

The Texas Water Resources Institute is partnering with AgriLife Extension and the Texas Well Owner Network on these programs. Events are also in collaboration with the Panhandle Groundwater Conservation District, North Plains Groundwater Conservation District and Hemphill County Underground Water Conservation District.

“Private well owners in Texas are independently responsible for monitoring the quality of their wells,” said Dr. 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, maintaining.”

Gholson said the Texas Well Owner Network provides “Well Educated” trainings and “Well Informed” screenings to help private well owners manage their wells. Both programs provide opportunities to screen water samples for nitrates, total dissolved solids, E. coli and coliform bacteria. The trainings are free and help private well owners understand and care for their wells.

Well water sampling bottles and accompanying instructions. (Texas Well Owner Network photo)

“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. The cost is $10 per sample, due when samples are turned in. Gholson said bringing water samples to the training is not required, but those wanting to have water samples analyzed must attend.

A Well Educated training will be held July 19 from 8 a.m.-noon at the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agriculture Research Service Conservation and Production Research Laboratory, 2300 Experiment Station Road in Bushland.

Those bringing samples will get results of nitrate nitrogen and total dissolved solids at the meeting and results on bacteria by email.

Well owners wanting their well water sampled can pick up two sample containers from the AgriLife Extension offices for Potter County, 3301 E. 10th Ave. in Amarillo; Randall County, 200 N. Brown Road in Canyon; Oldham County, 110 S. Main St. in Vega; or Armstrong County, 100 Trice St. in Claude.

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

At Well Informed screenings, participants have their well-water samples tested. A separate 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 bags and bottles are picked up by participants. Sampling items will be available at least a week before the turn-in dates.

Dates, times and locations for Well Informed screenings and follow-ups will be:  

– July 17 from 8:30-10 a.m. at the AgriLife Extension office for Ochiltree County, 402 Expo Drive in Perryton. A follow-up meeting to explain screening results will be at 7 p.m. July 18 at the same location.

– July 17 from 8:30-10 a.m. at the AgriLife Extension office for Lipscomb County, located in the courthouse basement at 1 Main St. in Lipscomb. The follow-up meeting will be at 7 p.m. July 18 at the AgriLife Extension office for Ochiltree County.

– July 17 from 8:30-10 a.m. at the AgriLife Extension office for Sherman County, 701 N. Third St. in Stratford. A follow-up meeting will be held at 6 p.m. July 24 at the same location.

– July 17 from 8:30-10 a.m. at the AgriLife Extension office for Hansford County, 223 Main St. in Spearman. A follow-up meeting will be held at 7 p.m. July 18 at the AgriLife Extension office for Ochiltree County.

– July 18 from 8:30-10 a.m. at the AgriLife Extension office for Hemphill County, 10865 Exhibition Center Road in Canadian. A follow-up meeting will be held at 6 p.m. July 19 at the same location.  

– July 18 from 8:30-10 a.m. at the AgriLife Extension office for Roberts County, 122 Waters St. in Miami. A follow-up meeting will be held at 6 p.m. July 24 at the same location.

– July 18 from 8:30-10 a.m. at the AgriLife Extension office Wheeler County, 7939 U.S. Highway 83 in Wheeler. A follow-up meeting will be held at 6 p.m. July 24 at the same location.

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 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, the AgriLife Extension and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M University.

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