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Is Your Well Water Safe? by Bob Schultheis Agricultural Engineering Specialist.

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Presentation on theme: "Is Your Well Water Safe? by Bob Schultheis Agricultural Engineering Specialist."— Presentation transcript:

1 Is Your Well Water Safe? by Bob Schultheis Agricultural Engineering Specialist

2 Missouri Water Supply Statistics n n 890,000 Missourians on private water supplies n n 86% on drilled wells n n 300, ,000 active wells n n 10,000-20,000 new wells drilled annually n n One abandoned well or cistern for every 80 acres of land (DNR estimate) – –Webster Co. = 4,700+ wells over 379,000 ac.

3 What is Coliform? n n Coliform bacteria are used as indicator organisms to test for contamination of drinking water. – –>1 coliform = Unsatisfactory in DOH tests n n E. coli is a member of the coliform family and is commonly found in raw sewage. n n E. coli is responsible for many health-threatening diseases.

4 Coliform-Associated Diseases n n Cholera n n Typhoid n n Salmonella n n Shigella n n Staphylococcus n n Hepatitis A, B, C n n Polio n n Viral Gastroenteritis

5 1994 Coliform Detection Study n n May to Nov well survey n n 9 states- Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin n n 41.3% tested positive n n E. coli detects averaged 11.1% n n Missouri E. coli detects - highest at 22.6%

6 Sampling Results Private Wells

7 Factors Contributing to Coliform Detects n n Improperly constructed wells n n Poorly maintained wells n n Ineffective on-site sewage systems n n Proximity to livestock feeding operations n n Karst geologic formations

8 Nitrates n n Nitrate detects are relatively low although not uncommon. (up to 16% of samples) – –>10 ppm NO 3 -N = Unsatisfactory n n Sources – –Livestock facilities (esp. abandoned ones) – –N & P fertilizer in excess of crop removal capability – –Failing septic systems

9 D.O.H. Water Quality Survey August 1999 n n Webster County gridded for random sampling n n 61 participants

10 D.O.H. Water Quality Survey August 1999 Results - Webster County 44% Private wells testing positive for coliform bacteria 28% Sewage systems with open discharge & surfacing effluent

11 Soils in Webster County n 79% rated severe for pollution potential n 21% rated moderate n 0% rated slight Losing stream

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13 Solution Channel

14 Whats Wrong with this Well?

15 Ways to Reduce Well Contamination 1 n n Soil blanket (5+ feet thick) is good filter n n Elevation = keep above pollution sources n n Distance = 200+ feet horiz. separation n n Grout well with neat-cement or bentonite clay by state-certified well driller n n Use approved sanitary well cap n n Rehab. poorly constructed wells

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17 Ways to Reduce Well Contamination 2 n n Plug abandoned wells & cisterns n n Repair/move/replace failing septic systems n n Apply fertilizer & animal manure according to soil test & manure test n n Repair/upgrade animal waste facilities n n Install containment for fuels & pesticides

18 Ways to Reduce Well Contamination 3 n n Dont dump anything into sinkholes n n Use grass buffer strips (50+ feet wide) as filters around sinkholes n n Promote community awareness of risk n n Shock-chlorinate active wells after any plumbing repairs

19 Shock-Chlorinating Your 6-inch Diameter Well 1 n n Remove well cap or unscrew vent pipe Newer wells Older wells

20 Shock-Chlorinating Your 6-inch Diameter Well 2 n n Mix chlorine & water in bucket. Pour into well – –Liquid 1 pint per 25 of water depth, or – –Chlorine 0.5 lb. per 150 of water depth n n Circulate water back down well n n Load chlorinated water into plumbing system

21 Shock-Chlorinating Your 6-inch Diameter Well 3 n n Let chlorine water stand in system at least 12 hours n n Flush system with water, starting outside n n Retest for bacteria after 7-10 days – –$10 cost; DOH has sterile sample bottle – – Keep sample cool & dark, get to lab in 6 hours n n Keep test results with important papers

22 University Information Guides Available n n WQ100 Water Testing: What to Test For n n WQ101 Understanding Your Water Test Report n n WQ102 Bacteria in Drinking Water n n WQ103 Nitrate in Drinking Water n n WQ104 Understanding Home Water Treatment Systems

23 Questions??? Robert A. (Bob) Schultheis Agricultural Engineering Specialist Webster County Extension Center 800 S. Marshall, P.O. Box 7 Marshfield, MO Voice: Fax: Website:


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