by Jessie Curl
The Alabama Private Well Program (APWP) kicked off its summer workshop series on the coast of Alabama this June (2022). The APWP started in 2020 as a way to deliver education and materials to well owners across Alabama. Part of the initiative includes educational workshops intended to educate communities about water testing options for private well owners while also introducing groundwater basics, best practices for well care, and resources on well water testing in the region. Informational resources on how to sample private wells, how to interpret sample results, and what individuals can do to protect their well and its source water from contamination are shared during these events. Well owners are also able to ask questions and meet Jessie Curl, the APWP Coordinator.
Private Well in Alabama. Photo Credit: Jessie Curl
Coastal Well Water Workshops
This June, well owners in Mobile and Baldwin Counties were invited to attend evening workshops held in partnership with the local Alabama Extension county offices and the City of Foley. Well owners were able to learn about Alabama Extension, the APWP, and resources created for well owners in Alabama.
Well owners in Baldwin County attend a Coastal Well Owner Workshop on June 22, 2022. Photo Credit: Jessie Curl
Is Your Water Well?: Groundwater Perception Study
Well owners in attendance were invited to participate in a collaborative research experience led by Dr. Ann Ojeda, Assistant Professor at Auburn University’s College of Science and Mathematics, as part of a larger study done in partnership with the National Science Foundation-Integrated Groundwater Management effort. Dr. Ojeda has partnered with the APWP to recruit well owners to participate in a two-year, citizen science opportunity where well owners can receive free well water testing kits and conduct water quality monitoring of their drinking water.
Dr. Ann Ojeda, Dr. Natalia Malina, and PhD Student Anika Hoque prepare the over-the-counter well water test kits to be distributed during the workshop. Photo Credit: Dr. Stephanie Rogers
Dr. Ojeda and a team of researchers at the AU Contaminants Group will study the efficacy of over-the-counter well water testing kits as a “first alert” for water contamination on the coast. The group will also supplement this by offering sample collection and an extended menu of testing options not covered in the over-the-counter kits to well owners who participate.
Well owners were given printed resources and invited to participate in a groundwater quality perception survey. Photo Credit: Jessie Curl
Access to reliable and accurate over-the-counter water quality testing kits will help empower well owners to protect their home water systems, while also allowing researchers to better understand risks to groundwater pollution in coastal areas. Results from this study will be translated directly to outreach materials to be used by the APWP.
Over-the-counter well water testing kits were distributed to well owners during the workshop. Photo Credit: Jessie Curl
For well owners in Mobile or Baldwin County that missed these workshops, be on the lookout for additional virtual meetings. If you have questions about these workshops or about owning a well in Alabama, contact Jessie Curl, APWP Coordinator at email@example.com.