Well Assessment Tool Now Available for Well Inspectors, Illinois State Water Survey

ISWS Press Release

For Immediate Release February 15, 2017
Well Assessment Tool Now Available for Well Inspectors
Steve Wilson - (217) 333-0956, sdwilson@illinois.edu
Lisa Sheppard - (217) 244-7270, sheppard@illinois.edu

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Sanitarians, drillers, and other professionals who evaluate private well safety can use a new, thorough well assessment tool from the University of Illinois’ Prairie Research Institute (PRI) to better learn how to assist homeowners and identify potential problems with family wells.

When purchasing homes, owners typically know little about the wells that provide their water, said groundwater hydrologist Steve Wilson with the Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS), a division of PRI. Some mortgage loan companies require that wells be inspected prior to the sale, but in other cases, this is the sole responsibility of the homeowners. They may hire a professional to do the job.

Well Operator assessing a well

The ISWS and the Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP) convened a team of experts to develop the private well assessment tool, a nine-page survey with questions on water usage, well depth, pump maintenance, household plumbing, and water quality, among others. /p>

“The assessment provides a comprehensive evaluation of the possible sources of contamination at or near the well,” Wilson said. “It is designed to evaluate potential risk to the well or well water quality that ranges from flooding of a local creek to something stored in a nearby barn.”

RCAP is offering training for well professionals to learn how to use the assessment tool as part of a four-hour workshop that includes best practices for outreach to well owners. The workshops provide Continuing Education Units for sanitarians through the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA).

“The great thing about this assessment tool is that it also gives us a chance to work one-on-one with well owners to promote best practices, answer questions, and encourage routine sampling,” Wilson said.

The assessment tool is available at http://privatewellclass.org/appendix.

RCAP has provided more than 20 workshops around the country in the past 12 months and will be conducting more during 2017. The ISWS also plans to conduct one or two workshops in 2017 in Illinois and via webinar. To find out more about these and other well owner workshops, check the Private Well Class workshops page at http://privatewellclass.org/workshops.

To learn more about the Private Well Class program, including a free 10-lesson class for well owners, monthly webinars, and resource materials, visit http://privatewellclass.org/.


About the Prairie Research Institute: The Prairie Research Institute (PRI) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign comprises the Illinois Natural History Survey, Illinois State Archaeological Survey, Illinois State Geological Survey, Illinois State Water Survey, and Illinois Sustainable Technology Center. PRI provides objective natural and cultural resource expertise, data, research, service, and solutions for decision making, the stewardship of Illinois’ resources, and the public good. www.prairie.illinois.edu

Media contact: Tricia Barker, Associate Director for Strategic Communications, tlbarker@illinois.edu, 217-300-2327

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