UC Davis Water Study & USDA School Water Testing Project Underway in Tulare County

February 10, 2011

There are two free water tests available to domestic well owners and schools in Tulare County.

UC Davis Water Study

Residents who own a domestic well in Tulare County are eligible for a free water quality test courtesy of University of California, Davis officials who are conducting a groundwater quality project.

Katherine Lockhart, a UC, Davis graduate student leading the project, said the purpose of the project is to improve groundwater protection and help ensure safe drinking water for rural households by providing better assessment tools and management options. The project is funded by the State Water Resources Control Board.

“This project will provide important information in an overall effort to improve the quality of water, and ultimately the quality of life, in Tulare County,” Lockhart said.

Lockhart said residents who agree to participate in the project will receive a visit from staff that will test the quality of water in the domestic well, at no cost, for nitrate, salinity, and microbial indicators and some common water quality parameters. After the water test, residents will receive the laboratory report for the water along with an explanation of the results. The cost of these tests generally totals $200.

Tulare County District One Supervisor Allen Ishida, who is also a member of the Tulare County Water Commission, said the groundwater project will be beneficial to residents who participate.

“These tests will normally cost a domestic well owner hundreds of dollars,” Supervisor Ishida said. “Residents should take advantage of this service while it’s still available.

Lockhart said the study will be complete when up to 200 domestic wells are tested. Domestic wells located west of Highway 99 between the Kings County lines are preferred.

Lockhart said participants’ information will be shared with the State Water Resources Board. However, names and addresses will not be made public in any final reports.

Lockhart said other groundwater quality project participants in include officials with the Community Water Center and Self-Help Enterprises.

For more information please call Katherine Lockhart at 209/202-3496.

USDA School Water Testing Project

Officials from the United State Department of Agriculture’s Pesticide Data Program (PDP) are offering local schools the opportunity to have their water tested for free.

PDP officials are asking that schools allow a sample to be collected and tested. Participation in the monitoring effort is voluntary. The data collected will be used as part of the PDP Annual Summary.

For more information on the Pesticide Data Program please call 703-330-2300.