• By: Paul Schattenberg, 210-859-5752, [email protected]
  • Contacts: Drew Gholson, 979-845-1461, [email protected]
  • John W. Smith, 979-845-2761, [email protected]
  • Diane Boellstorff, 979-458-3562, [email protected] STATION — The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service will offer Texas Well Owner Network trainings and screenings in May for seven West Texas counties, said program coordinators.
Several water well trainings and screenings will be held  in West Texas during May. (Texas A&M AgriLife Communications photo by Steve Byrns)


The Texas Water Resources Institute is partnering with AgriLife Extension and the Texas Well Owner Network on these programs, they said.

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

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

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

Dates, times and locations for the Well Educated programs will be:

– May 17 from 8:30 a.m.-12 p.m. with registration starting at 8 a.m. at the Winkler Community Center, also called the Community Council building, 118 N. Poplar St. in Kermit. Well owners wanting their well water sampled can pick up two sample containers from the AgriLife Extension office for Winkler County, 307 S. Poplar St., Suite 1, in Kermit or Ward County, 3600 S. Stockton Ave., Suite J, in Monahans.

– May 18 from 1-5 p.m. at the Ector County Coliseum, Barn A, 4201 Andrews Highway in Odessa. Well owners can pick up sample containers from the AgriLife Extension offices for Ector County, 1010 E. 8th St. in Odessa; Andrews County, 851 E. Broadway St. in Andrews; Midland County, 2445 E. U.S. Highway 80 in Midland; Crane County, 900 W. 6th St. in Crane; or Martin County, 210 Convent St. in Stanton.

Space is limited, so attendees are requested to register at http://twon.tamu.edu/training or by calling 979-845-1461 as soon as possible.

At the Well Informed screenings, participants can have their well water samples tested. A 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 TWON Well Informed screenings make it possible to do that,” said John Smith, AgriLife Extension program specialist, College Station.

He said well owners submitting samples for Well Informed screenings 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. Bottles and bags will be available at least one week before the turn-in dates.

Dates, times and locations for the Well Informed screenings will be:

– May 17 from 8:30-9:30 a.m. Sample bags and bottles should be turned in at the AgriLife Extension office for Culberson County, 300 La Caverna St. in Van Horn. A follow-up meeting to explain screening results will be held at 7:30 p.m. May 18 at the Van Horn Convention Center, 1801 W. Broadway in Van Horn.

– May 18 from 8:30-9:30 a.m. Submit samples to the AgriLife Extension office for Upton County, 1000 Texas Highway 329 in Rankin; Reagan County, 1430 N. Ohio St. in Big Lake; or Glasscock County, 117 South Myrl St. in Garden City. A follow-up meeting will be held at 6 p.m. May 19 at the AgriLife Extension office for Upton County.

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

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