By: Diane E. Boellstorff, Drew M. Gholson, Mark L. McFarland and John W. Smith, The Texas A&M University System
Texas landowners are responsible for managing the drinking water from their private wells. To protect your water supply, you need to keep records on each well, manage potential sources of contamination, and test your water at least once a year.
Record the location of all wells on your property, and keep a file on each well. Each well will have a unique identification number assigned by the driller. Use this number to track historical information, which may be available from the following sources:
- Texas Commission on Environmental Quality Water Well Report: www.tceq.texas.gov/goto/ Water Well Report Viewer, (512) 239- 0900 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Texas Alliance for Groundwater Districts: http://www.texasgroundwater.org/. Your groundwater may be managed and protected locally through a groundwater conservation district. Groundwater districts are governed under chapters 35 and 36 of the Texas Water Code.
Manage potential sources of contamination
Materials from many common facilities can contaminate a water well. Take steps to protect your well water from them. According to Texas law, the well- head must be at least:
- 50 feet from any septic tank, cistern, property boundary, and/or non potable well
- 100 feet from your septic drainfield or any leach field
- 150 feet from any feed storage area, pesticide or fertilizer storage area, or shelter or yard for pets or livestock.
- 250 feet from a manure stack or liquid waste disposal system
Test the water
Contaminants such as arsenic and radionuclides can occur naturally in wells. Well water can also be contaminated by environmental disturbances or human activities such as oil and gas exploration
Have your well water tested for the contaminants that are most likely to be in it. At a minimum, have the water tested every year for nitrate, total dissolved solids (TDS), and E. coli or fecal coliform (bacteria from human or animal waste).
Also have the water tested whenever you suspect contamination; when you notice a change in the water’s color, taste, or odor; after the pump or well is maintained; and after anyone who drinks the well water experiences a suspicious illness.
To find a laboratory, call your county health department or choose a certified drinking water laboratory from the National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program at http://www.tceq.texas.gov/goto/certified_labs.
For more information
Texas Well Owner Network: http://twon.tamu.edu/
Texas Well Owner Network: Texas Well Owner’s Guide to Water Supply. By K. Uhlman, D. Boellstorff, M. L. McFarland, B. Clayton, and J. W. Smith. 2013. Texas A&M AgriLife Extension publication B-6257, 96 pp.
List of licensed well driller/pump installers: https://www.tdlr.texas.gov/
County AgriLife Extension office: http://counties.agrilife.org/
Diane Boellstorff: email@example.com (979) 458-3562
Drew Gholson: firstname.lastname@example.org (979) 845-1461
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