Testing Local Water Sources
Testing of Local Water Sources to Ensure Potability
Drinking water quality in rural parts of the state is often taken for granted. Local UGA Cooperative Extension offices provide services educating individuals of the importance of ensuring water potability through services and testing available from the University of Georgia's Agricultural and Environmental Services Laboratories (AESL).
Throughout rural Southwest Georgia, most drinking water sources are private wells. Although the overall water quality is safe compared to undeveloped countries, well contamination and water safety can be a concern. Because this part of the state relies heavily on agriculture, pesticide and fertilization leaching and runoff can be a source of pollution. Also, older wells that were dug prior to current safety standards might be more susceptible to water quality and safety issues.
Randolph County Extension produces flyers, newspaper articles and monthly bulletins to inform and educate the local population of the importance of well and water testing. The testing procedures, options and fees offered by the AESL are published and explained in order to provide important water testing services. Over 50 different water tests and analyses are offered. Basic mineral content, microbiological examination, trace mineral and pesticide analysis lab services are an important resource to check questionable water sources.
In Randolph County, the amount of well testing for water quality and safety increased by 45% from 2016 to 2017. As a result of the efforts to inform and educate the importance of testing and the services provided by AESL, 22% of wells tested during 2017 were found to have contaminants at levels that exceeded federal and state EPD standards. Information and options were provided to individuals with well contamination concerns in the form of brochures and publications from UGA Extension. This information provided steps to possibly identify and correct problems as well as maintain the integrity and safety of their wells. The resource of water testing is a tremendous asset to rural southwest Georgia. This service provided by the AESL and offered through local Extension offices is shown here to be an important necessity in the efforts to inform the public of using and monitoring local water sources for potability.
Sustainability, Conservation, and the Environment