Private water well screening set for Aug. 1 in Cedar Bayou Watershed

MONT BELVIEU, July 14, 2017 - The Texas Well Owner Network is hosting a water well screening from 8:30–10 a.m. Aug. 1 at the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service office for Liberty County, 501 Palmer Ave. in Liberty, or at McLeod Park, 10717 Langston Drive in Mont Belvieu to give area residents the opportunity to have their well water screened. The cost is $10 for each sample submitted.

A meeting explaining screening results will be held at 6 p.m. Aug. 2 at the McLeod Park, 10717 Langston Drive, in Mont Belvieu.

The screening is presented by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension and Texas Water Resources Institute in partnership with the AgriLife Extension office in Chambers and Liberty counties and the Cedar Bayou Watershed Partnership.

“Private water wells should be tested annually,” said John W. Smith, AgriLife Extension program specialist, College Station.

Smith said well owners wanting to have their well water screened should pick up a sample bag, bottle and instructions from the AgriLife Extension office in Chambers County, 295 White Memorial Park Road, Anahuac, or Liberty County, 501 Palmer Ave., Liberty. Bottles and bags will be available at least a week before the turn-in date.

“It is very important that only sampling bags and bottles from the AgriLife Extension office in Chambers and Liberty Counties be used and all instructions for proper sampling are followed to ensure accurate results,” he said.

The samples must be turned in by 10 a.m. on the day of the screening. Samples will be screened for common contaminants, including total coliform bacteria, E. coli, nitrate-nitrogen and salinity.

Smith said research shows the presence of E. coli bacteria in water indicates that waste from humans or warm-blooded 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.

“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 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 levels may leave deposits and have a salty taste, and using water with high levels for irrigation may damage soil or plants, according to Smith.

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

For more information, please contact the AgriLife Extension office in Chambers County at 409-374-2123, and Liberty County at 936-334-3230.

To learn more about the programs offered through the network or to find additional publications and resources, please visit

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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