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Time to test your private water well?

By Sam Womble County Extension Agent

Private water wells should be tested annually. The Texas Well Owner Network, in partnership with the Bandera County Offices of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, Bandera County River Authority & Groundwater District, and the Texas Water Resources Institute with support from the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board is providing a water well screening day for area residents.
Water samples will be accepted on Wednesday, Nov. 6, between 8:30 and 10 am at the Bandera County River Authority & Groundwater District (BCRAGD) located at 440 FM 3240, in Bandera. 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.
Pick up a sample bag and sampling instructions from the Bandera County Extension Office or BCRAGD. Sample materials will be available for pick up at both locations beginning Monday, Oct. 21.
The Bandera County Extension Office is located in Mansfield Park at 2886 Hwy 16N. It is very important that only sample bags from the Bandera County Extension Office or the Bandera County River Authority & Groundwater District be used and all instructions for proper collection be followed to ensure accurate results.
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 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 (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.
A meeting explaining screening results will be held at 7 pm on Thursday, Nov. 7 at the BCRAGD office.
For more information, please contact Bandera County Extension Agent, Sam Womble (830) 796-7755 or the Bandera County River Authority & Groundwater District General Manager, David Mauk at (830) 796-7260. It is extremely important to be at the 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.

Photo courtesy blogspot.com
Make sure the water from your private well is safe to drink by having it tested.