Extension Agent: Have you tested your private water well?

July 12, 2011 at 2:12 a.m.

By Sam Womble

Private water wells should be tested annually. The Victoria County Office of Texas AgriLife Extension Service is sponsoring a water well screening day for area residents on July 27, at the Victoria County Extension Office.

Samples from private water wells will be screened for possible common contaminants including fecal coliform bacteria, nitrates and high salinity. The cost will be $10 per sample.

The presence of fecal coliform bacteria in water indicates that feces (bodily waste from humans or 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 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 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 used for irrigation may damage the soil or plants.

You will need to pick up a sample bag and instructions from the Victoria County Extension Office, 528 Waco Circle. You can contact the Extension office by calling 361-575-4581 to receive an approved water sampling bag and instructions for taking your water well sample. It is very important that only sampling bags from the Extension office be used and all instructions for proper sampling followed to ensure accurate results.

A meeting explaining screening results will be held on Thursday, July 28, at 7 p.m. at the Victoria County Extension Office. It is important to attend the meeting to receive your results, learn corrective measures for identified problems and to improve your understanding of private well management.


The Texas A&M Beef Cattle Short Course is right around the corner. The event is held on campus at Texas A&M University in College Station and is unquestionably the most diversified technical beef cattle training program offered in the state. Texas AgriLife faculty have developed the program and will offer current information on forages, grazing management, brush control, cattle health, reproduction, nutrition and landowner issues to name a few. Other highlights will include numerous CEU and BQA credits, hands on demonstrations and of course the Famous Aggie Prime Rib Dinner. For additional information including registration specifics, contact the Extension office at 361-575-4581 or visit their website at beef.tamu.edu

Sam Womble is a Victoria County extension agent - natural resources.



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