See more from this Session: General Resident Education: I
Monday, November 1, 2010
Long Beach Convention Center, Exhibit Hall BC, Lower Level
A large majority of Delmarva residents rely on a private water system for their drinking water supply. The homeowners are solely responsible for managing the quality of their private water well to ensure that it meets drinking water safety standards set by their state. Proper water system maintenance and/or improvements are sometimes not made due to a lack of knowledge and/or financial assistance. Safe Drinking Water Clinics were conducted at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore to educate rural homeowners about how to avoid, detect, and treat contaminants that may affect the quality of their drinking water. All of the participants received a free water analysis of their home drinking water supply. Each sample was tested for the following parameters: pH, Total Coliform, E. coli, Nitrate, and Total Dissolved Solids. Of the 45 water samples tested, 30 failed to meet the drinking water standard for Total Coliform, 16 tested positive for E. coli, and 14 failed the standard for Total Dissolved Solids. All of the samples met the standard for nitrate. Pre- and post- tests were also completed by all of the participants to determine their level of knowledge before and after the clinic. There was an 86 % increase in the post-test scores, which indicated that the participants learned new knowledge about proper testing and maintenance of their private water system. Forty participants also completed a well owner survey before the clinic, which indicated that 17 residents had never tested their drinking water and 18 had only tested their drinking water once. Due to the high percentage of water samples failing to meet drinking water safety standards and the responses of the well owner survey, outreach programs will continue to educate residents of the Eastern Shore of Delmarva about how to properly maintain and protect their private water system.