Extension program returns to Virginia Beach for second summer to help rural residents test water supplies


COURTHOUSE — The Virginia Cooperative Extension is offering low-cost tests to determine the safety of well water for the second summer in Virginia Beach.

Tests will look for levels of iron, fluoride, lead, nitrates, as well as bacteria content and hardness, among other things. It’s part of the Virginia Households Water Quality Program, which helps those who depend upon private water systems, such as wells.

The cost is $52 for a sample kit. Residents start the process by attending one of two kickoff meetings at either 10 a.m. or 7 p.m., Monday, July 18, in the agriculture conference room on the second floor of 2449 Princess Anne Road. Then they collect samples to be returned between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m., Wednesday, July 20, at the same location.

Samples will be analyzed at Virginia Tech, and results will be returned and discussed during a meeting at 6:30 p.m., Aug. 18.

There are about 1.7 million well or spring water users in the commonwealth. According to the water quality program, wells should be inspected every three to five years or when the owner believe there may be an issue. This is especially important for wells built before 1992, when state regulations regarding construction went into effect.

Water safety has been an issue here in the past. In September 2013, well water at Creeds Elementary School tested positive for the contaminant coliform bacteria including E. coli, according to WTKR-TV. The school avoided using the water while the situation was addressed.

The issue took months to overcome, The Virginian-Pilot reported. The Pungo-Blackwater Library and Senior Rosource Center, Inc., share the wells used by the school. Creeds is the only school on a well system, The Pilot reported.

Earlier this year, the Navy tested private wells in Chesapeake near Naval Auxiliary Landing Field Fentress following tests of base wells that showed PFCs, WTKR-TV reported at the time.

For information, reach Andrea Davis via at awise@vt.edu or Roy Flanagan via royf@vt.edu or call (757) 385-4769.

© 2016 Pungo Publishing Co., LLC

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