Extension service to offer help managing private wells

Published 7:59 am Saturday, September 24, 2016

Most people in Mississippi get their water from public service, but for the 10 percent of residents who don’t have or don’t want access to a professionally managed supply, the Mississippi State University Extension service is offering testing and a workshop in managing private wells.

Pearl River County residents may attend a free workshop from 6 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 29 at the Pearl River County MSU Extension Office at 417 Highway 11 North in Poplarville. The event is part of the Extension’s outreach, the Mississippi Well Owner Network Program

With municipal or other public water systems, “by law you have an individual checking daily, and monthly he’s sending in samples to the Health Department lab for testing,” Dr. Jason Barrett of the Extension Service said.

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Some residents prefer to remain outside the public supply, but for those with no choice, it’s best to learn how to manage the quality of the water supply from a well, Barrett said.

“Some people are on private wells because they have to be,” he said. “It’s just because they either built a house where there is no public supply or they purchased a house that isn’t hooked up to one. These people to me are truly interested in the quality of their water.”

“Through this workshop we’re really hitting it in two different kind of ways,” Barrett said. “The first part of the workshop we actually talk about groundwater hydrology, how the water gets through the soil and into the aquifer, that hydrologic cycle, how we as humans can potentially affect ground water.

Then, he said, he’ll talk about protecting against possible contamination, “aesthetically how to affect the quality of the water, the taste,” and other issues.

“Then we’ll talk about who to contact with questions, where to get testing for additional things,” he said. “I really try to be a question-and-answer resource.”

Participants can drop off samples of their well water from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday. The samples will be screened for E. coli bacteria for $20. Owners can pick up approved sample containers with instructions at the Poplarville office Monday through Wednesday.

The workshop will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. on Thursday.