University of Maryland Extension

Private Well Owners Can Have Water Tested in Upcoming Water Clinics

A water testing and education program on private wells and drinking water quality is being offered by the University of Maryland Extension to Harford County residents beginning on May 9, 2015. Participants can have their water tested for a variety of biological and environmental parameters, learn how to interpret their test results with the help of experts, and learn about resources available for correcting problems that may be found in their private drinking water supply.

“Almost one-third of Maryland’s residents rely on ground water to meet their water supply needs and about 850,000 people rely on a private water system for their home drinking water supply,” explains Karen Aspinwall, educator and team member on the Water Quality Education project. “Homeowners with private wells have the responsibility of managing the quality of their water to ensure that it meets drinking water safety standards. However, proper maintenance and monitoring practices are sometimes not followed due to a lack of knowledge and/or financial assistance.”

The Harford County Water Clinic is a two-session program, with both sessions meeting at the University of MD Extension office in Forest Hill. The first session of the Clinic is scheduled for Saturday, May 9, from 10 to 11:00 am. Participants will learn how to properly collect a water sample from their home and receive their water test sample materials. Water samples will be dropped off by participants at the Harford County Extension Office on the morning of Tuesday, May 26 and hand-carried to partners at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA for processing. The second informational session of the Clinic is scheduled for Saturday, June 27 from 9:30 to noon, again at the Harford Extension office. Test results will be interpreted and participants will learn how to avoid, detect, and treat contaminants that may affect drinking water quality. Information on septic system maintenance will also be offered at this session.

“The overarching goal of this program is to increase the number of Maryland residents who are taking an active approach to personal and family safety and health by monitoring drinking water and following proper maintenance guidelines,” says Aspinwall.

Only 30 openings are available for this program, and registration of $79.00 is required. The Cecil County Extension office is handling registrations; call 410-996-5280 to register. The registration fee pays for the extensive slate of tests and expert analysis of results; the education program and resources given out free of charge are supported by the University of Maryland Extension. For more information, contact Karen Aspinwall at 410-996-8133 or kaspin@umd.edu.

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