GATESVILLE — Private water wells in Texas should be tested annually, according to the Texas Well Owner Network, which will sponsor water well screening Monday at the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service office in Gatesville.

The group is working in partnership with the Coryell County offices of the Extension Service, the Leon River Watershed and the Texas Water Resources Institute, and with support from the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board.

Coryell County residents are asked to turn in water samples by 10 a.m. The samples will be screened for common contaminants, including fecal coliform bacteria, nitrates and high salinity. The cost is $10 per sample.

A meeting explaining screening results will be at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Coryell County Commissioners’ Courtroom, 205 S. Seventh St., in Gatesville.

The presence of fecal coliform bacteria in water indicates that waste from humans or warm-blooded animals may have contaminated the water. Water contaminated with fecal coliform bacteria is more likely to have pathogens present that can cause diarrhea, cramps, nausea or other symptoms.

Water with nitrates at levels of 10 parts per million is considered unsafe for human consumption. Nitrate levels above 10 ppm can disrupt the ability of blood to carry oxygen throughout the body, resulting in a condition called methemoglobinemia. Infants younger than 6 months old and young livestock are most susceptible.

Salinity as measured by Total Dissolved Solids will be determined for each sample. Water with high TDS levels may leave deposits and have a salty taste. Additionally, using water with high TDS for irrigation may damage soil or plants.

Sample bags and instructions can be obtained from the Extension Service office at 303 Veterans Memorial Loop in Gatesville. For more information, call County Agent Pasquale Swaner at (254) 865-2414.

Contact Tim Orwig at

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