Inspect Domestic Wells To Avoid Groundwater Contamination

August is National Water Quality month!  High Plains Underground Water Conservation District (HPWD) reminds area residents that regular inspection of domestic water wells can help preserve groundwater quality.

 “We encourage domestic well owners to check their site for any openings that would allow contaminants to adversely impact groundwater quality in that individual well,” said HPWD Manager Jason Coleman, P.E.

 He said well surface seals should be in good condition. If your well has a concrete slab, be sure to check for any large cracks or openings that can allow potential contaminants to enter the well.

 Some wells have steel or PVC sleeves around the casing. Like a slab, this provides a proper seal between the bore hole and casing. Be sure that the sleeve fits properly and is not damaged.

 Well plates should fit securely on top of the casing. There should also be a proper fit where any electrical wiring enters the well plate. This helps ensure that no debris or other contaminants fall into the well. During winter, some wells may be wrapped with insulation. Mice and other vermin may nest in it and contaminate wells that are not properly sealed.

 Coleman added that soil surfaces near the well should be graded so that water drains away from the well casing, slab, or casing sleeve. This helps prevent any possible contamination that can occur following rainfall events.

 Keep the well site and surrounding areas clean. Trash and overgrown vegetation may hide problems and encourage rodent and snake activity. Do not store chemicals near wells or in well houses.

 Contact your local pump installer or water well driller if you note any problems during your inspection. These licensed professionals are skilled at water well repair and maintenance.

 In addition, Coleman says it is a good practice to have a professional laboratory test the quality of the water in your well each year. This is especially important if there is a change in the appearance, smell, or taste of water produced from the well.

 “We encourage folks to visit the domestic well page on the HPWD website (www.hpwd.org/domestic-wells). It features several fact sheets and additional online resources relating to domestic wells and groundwater quality,” he said.

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Research & demonstration project funding approved

More than $143,000 in grant fund requests for water-related research and demonstration projects were approved by the High Plains Underground Water Conservation District (HPWD) Board of Directors at their June 12 meeting in Lubbock.
 
“The five-member HPWD Board and its seven-member research and demonstration funding reviewed 16 proposals this year. These addressed a wide range of water-related subjects,” said Manager Jason Coleman.
 
The 11 projects approved for full or partial funding include: 

  • Edwards-Trinity Aquifer Investigation.
  • Plant Polymers for Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) Removal.
  • Xeric Landscape Installation at an Area Middle School.
  • Drought-Tolerant Corn Hybrids.
  • Water Quality Parameters for Recharge Wells.
  • Water Productivity of Aquaponics.
  • Lawn Irrigation Management Workshop.
  • Soil Health in Residential Landscapes.
  • Playa Field Days and Festivals.
  • Texas 4-H Water Ambassadors.
  • Rainwater Harvesting Tanks for a Local Community Garden.

  “The HPWD Board of Directors are pleased to support these educators and researchers as they work to improve crop production methods, educational efforts, and water use efficiency.  All of the approved projects are designed to help conserve and preserve groundwater resources for the future,” said Board President Lynn Tate of Amarillo.
 
Final reports and other information relating to previously-funded projects are available at www.hpwd.org/research.