HARRISONBURG — Anyone with their own water source should test it annually, and this year, they could receive some help from experts in the field.
The Virginia Cooperative Extension will hold clinics on well and other water source testing starting next week, according to an extension office.
“We encourage people to test because they are responsible for their private water quality,” said Cristin Sprenger, a senior extension agent at the Virginia Cooperative.
Water can seep into wells or other personal water sources from far away because of the porous nature of the limestone that makes up a good portion of the bedrock in this area, she said. The region’s topography makes it difficult to know where water has been or what could be in it.
The clinic, which includes a lab test, costs $49. Sprenger said a private test could cost more than $200.
“That’s actually very inexpensive,” she said. “Plus when you go and take it to a lab, nobody stands there and explains to you what it means.”
Samples will be analyzed for E. Coli, iron, lead, arsenic, total dissolved solids and other information.
A kickoff meeting will include a brief presentation addressing common water quality issues in the area and instructions on collecting water samples — four are required. Kits will then be distributed.
All samples will be collected Nov. 13 and analyzed at Virginia Tech.
Participants will receive confidential water test results at an interpretation meeting at a later date, Sprenger said.
Experts also will be on hand to answer specific questions.
With only 150 total samples and 50 slots for each of three meetings, Sprenger said people should pre-register as soon as possible.
If too many people wait until after the first meeting, then they may not get in, she said.
The kick-off meetings are on Oct. 22 at Brown Memorial Community Church in McGaheysville; on Oct. 29 at Plains Community Center in Timberville; and on Nov. 6 at the Rockingham County Extension Office in Harrisonburg.
Call 564-3080 to pre-register or for more information.