Private water wells should be tested annually. The Texas Well Owner Network, in partnership with the Blanco and Hays County Offices of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service, the Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Conservation District, and the Texas Water Resources Institute, and with support from the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board, is providing a water well screening day for area residents on April 16, 2012. Participants may bring water well samples to various locations including: Dripping Springs City Hall, 511 Mercer Street, Dripping Springs; the Hays County AgriLife Extension Office at 1253 Civic Center Loop, San Marcos; or the Blanco County AgriLife Extension Office, 101 E. Cypress, Ste 109, Johnson City. Samples should be turned in by 10:00 a.m.
Samples from private water wells will be screened for common contaminants including fecal coliform bacteria, nitrates, and high salinity. The cost is $10 per sample.
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 (ppm) is considered unsafe for human consumption. Nitrate levels above 10 ppm can disrupt the blood’s ability 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 (TDS) will also be determined for each sample. Water with high TDS levels may leave deposits and have a salty taste. Additionally, using water with high TDS for irrigation may damage the soil or plants.
Pick up a sample bag and sampling instructions from the Blanco and Hays County AgriLife Extension Offices. You can contact the Blanco or Hays County Extension Office by calling 830-868-7167 or 512-393-2120. It is very important that only sampling bags from the County Extension Office be used and all instructions for proper sampling followed to ensure accurate results.
A meeting explaining screening results will be held at 6pm on April 17, 2012, at the Dripping Springs Vocational Agriculture Building, 111 Tiger Lane, Dripping Springs. For more information, please contact the Blanco Extension Agent Todd Swift or Richard Parrish, in Hays County, or the Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Conservation District. It is extremely important to be at this meeting to receive your results, learn corrective measures for identified problems, and to improve your understanding of private well management.
Support for the Texas Well Owner Network program is provided through Clean Water Act §319(h) Nonpoint Source funding from the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under Agreement No. 10-04.