Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Nearly 700 Attend Workshops To Help Private Water Well, Septic System Owners Across PA

By Bryan Swistock, Penn State Extension Water Resources Coordinator

Pennsylvania has one of the highest populations in the country served by private water wells and on-lot septic systems. Users of these rural drinking water and wastewater systems need educational resources because their management in Pennsylvania is the voluntary responsibility of each homeowner.
For many years, Penn State Extension has delivered Safe Drinking Water Clinics or Home Water and Septic Workshops to educate rural homeowners and farmers about proper water supply and wastewater system location, construction, testing and management. 
These workshops are presented in partnership with the Penn State Master Well Owner Network-- a group of over 800 trained volunteers across the state dedicated to educating others about proper management of drinking water supplies.
Utilizing grants for the Master Well Owner Network from the Department of Environmental Protection and from the Rural Community Assistance Partnership, Penn State Extension provided 29 workshops in 16 different counties over the past year. 
Counties hosting at least one workshop included Adams, Allegheny, Centre, Chester, Clarion, Crawford, Cumberland, Erie, Jefferson, Lancaster, Luzerne, Lycoming, McKean, Monroe, Northampton, and Warren.
Nearly 700 homeowners attended one of the workshops with 369 households providing water samples for free water testing for pH, total dissolved solids, nitrate, coliform bacteria, and E. coli bacteria and additional parameters at some workshops. 
This water testing helped numerous homeowners learn about existing health-related pollutants in their drinking water along with possible solutions to problems.
Onsite evaluations completed by almost 500 attendees found that 100 percent felt that they had learned new information. 
More importantly, 80 percent of attendees planned on using information they learned at the workshop to take actions to better manage their drinking water supply and/or septic system such as moving sources of pollution, pumping septic tank, fixing the construction of their well, or installing a water treatment device. 
An email follow-up evaluation of nearly 200 attendees within a few months after the workshops found that 60 percent had already taken action to improve their water supply-- installed sanitary well cap, moved polluting activity, installed water treatment, etc.-- while another 26 percent still planned to act.
Similar workshops for water well and septic system owners will be provided across Pennsylvania in the coming months. 
To learn more about upcoming workshop and the proper management of private water wells, springs, cisterns and septic systems, visit the Penn State Extension Drinking Water website.
Visit the Penn State Master Well Owner Network webpage to learn more about how you can get involved.

(Reprinted from the Penn State Extension Watershed Winds newsletter.  Click Here to sign up for your own copy.)
Related Articles:
[Posted: October 29, 2019]  www.PaEnvironmentDigest.com

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