Private water well screening Sept. 18 in Leming

The Texas Well Owner Network is hosting a water well screening September 18 in Leming to give area residents the opportunity to have their well water screened. The screening will be from 8:30–10 a.m. Sept. 18 at the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service office for Atascosa County, 25 E. 5th St.

A meeting explaining screening results will be at 6 p.m. on Sept. 20 at the same location. One CEU will be offered for Private Commercial and Non Commercial Applicators. The screening is presented by AgriLife Extension and Texas Water Resources Institute in partnership with the AgriLife Extension office in Atascosa County.

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 Atascosa County. Bottles and bags will be available at least a week before the turn-in date. The cost for each sample is $10.

“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. At the program, Russell Labus, Evergreen Underground Water Conservation District general manager, will discuss the district and its purpose. Smith said private water wells should be tested annually. Samples will be screened for common contaminants, including total coliform bacteria, E. coli, nitrate-nitrogen and salinity. Research shows the presence of E. coli bacteria in water indicates that waste from humans or warmblooded 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, Smith said. “Water with nitrate-nitrogen at levels of 10 parts per million is considered unsafe for human consumption,” Smith said

“These 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 six months of age and young livestock are most susceptible.”

Salinity as measured by total dissolved solids will also be determined for each sample, he said. Water with high levels may leave deposits and have a salty taste, and using water with high levels for irrigation may damage soil or plants. Smith said it is extremely important for those submitting samples to be at the Sept. 20 meeting to receive results, learn corrective measures for identified problems and improve their understanding of private well management. For more information, please contact the AgriLife Extension office in Atascosa County at 830- 569-0034.

To learn more about the programs offered through the network or to find additional publications and resources, please visit http:// Funding for the Texas Well Owner Network is through a state 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, the AgriLife Extension and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M University.

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