Farmers, ranchers near hurricane ravaged coast reminded to test water wells
just because flood waters have receded doesn’t mean well water is safe.
According to the experts, water wells, water tanks and ponds on the farm or ranch can be contaminated initially by storm surge or flood waters, but the risk of contamination can also come from the slower infiltration of contaminates that filter more slowly into the water table, which can increase the chance of a delayed or secondary well contamination.
While the risk of re-contamination is low, Extension specialist warn that many rural residents failed to test their water following the hurricane, usually because they believed floodwater or storm surge may not have reached or affected their well system.
In Victoria County, for instance, Diane Boellstorff, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service water resource specialist in College Station, advises rural residents that private water well owners whose wells flooded from the recent rains should assume their well water is contaminated until tested.
For well owners located in the Texas counties that were declared a federal disaster area following Hurricane Harvey, free test kits were available for a limited time, which has now expired.
To find out the availability of free test kits in your county, check with your local Texas AgriLife Extension Agent.
For those living in counties where free kits are still available, private well owners can pick up a test kit from their local AgriLife Extension office or other designated location, but must be able to return the sample to their local office from 8a.m.
Samples must be collected and returned on the date listed on the sampling kit.
Collection day and sample drop-off must be completed on the same day.
For private well owners who failed to test their water before the deadline to receive free test kits can also choose to have samples tested for microbial contamination by accredited laboratories across Texas.