Well water screening opportunity set for May 14 in Refugio

REFUGIO — The Texas Well Owner Network is hosting a well water screening May 14 in Refugio to give area residents the opportunity to have their well water evaluated.

The screening will be from 8:30-10 a.m. at the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service office at 414B N. Alamo St.

The Texas Well Owner Network will present a well water screening opportunity May 14 in Refugio. (Texas Well Owner Network photo)

A meeting explaining screening results will be at 6 p.m. May 15 at the Refugio County Community Center, 305 Swift St.

The screening is presented by TWON in collaboration with AgriLife Extension, Healthy Texas and Texas Water Resources Institute, or TWRI. Healthy Texas is an initiative of AgriLife Extension and the Texas A&M University Health Science Center.

John Smith, AgriLife Extension program specialist, College Station, said area residents wanting to have their well water screened should pick up a sample bag, bottle and instructions from the AgriLife Extension office in Refugio County.

“It is very important that only sampling bags and bottles from the AgriLife Extension office be used and all instructions for proper sampling are followed to ensure accurate results,” Smith said.

The samples must be turned in by 10 a.m. on the day of the screening. The cost for each sample is $10.

Smith said private water wells should be tested annually. Samples will be screened for contaminants, including total coliform bacteria, E. coli, nitrate-nitrogen, arsenic and salinity.

He said long-term consumption of arsenic in water increases the risk of skin cancer and cancer in the liver, bladder and lungs. Chronic exposure to arsenic may lead to gastrointestinal irritation and cardiovascular disease.

The presence of E. coli bacteria in water, Smith said, indicates that waste from humans or warm-blooded animals may have contaminated the water. Water contaminated with E. coli 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. “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.”

Smith said it is important for those submitting samples to be at the May 15 meeting to receive results, learn corrective measures for identified problems and improve their understanding of private well management.

At the program, Billy Sue Dunnivan, Refugio Groundwater Conservation District general manager, will discuss the district and its purpose.

For more information, contact the AgriLife Extension office at 361-526-2825.

To learn more about the programs offered through the network or to find additional publications and resources, go to https://twon.tamu.edu.

Funding for TWON 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 TWRI, part Texas A&M AgriLife Research, AgriLife Extension and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M University.

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

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