Virginia Household Water Quality Program
The objective of the Virginia Household Water Quality Program (VAHWQP) is to improve the water quality and health of Virginians using private water supplies. Since the program started in 1989, VAHWQP drinking water clinics have been conducted in 87 counties across the state. So far, samples from about 16,000 households have been analyzed and results confidentially returned to participants. The best part: your water test results are explained in a helpful meeting, where ways of preventing contamination and treating water quality problems are also addressed.
Drinking water clinics are organized by your local extension educator/agent and Virginia Tech faculty in the Biological Systems Engineering Department. Participation is voluntary and all information is kept strictly confidential. Anyone with a private water supply system (including wells, springs, and cisterns) may participate.
With a grant from USDA Cooperative State Research, Extension and Education Service (CSREES; now NIFA), we have revitalized the program. In addition to getting the drinking water clinics going again, we have established the Virginia Master Well Owner Network (VAMWON), a group of Virginia Cooperative Extension educator/agents and screened volunteers trained in proper well construction and location, appropriate maintenance and protection of wells and springs, interpretation of water tests, and water treatment options. These educator/agents and volunteers form an excellent resource base for homeowners. If you are a private water system owner, consider contacting a Master Well Owner in your area, or find out more about becoming involved as a master well owner volunteer or cooperative extension educator/agent.
If you rely on a well, spring or cistern for your water supply, you are responsible for the safety of your family's water! This means you should take steps toward maintaining and protecting your well and regularly test your water.