Drinking water has been a topic of concern since the Flint Michigan crisis in late 2015. One local organization, however, wants to help homeowners ensure the safety of their household water.
The Virginia Cooperative Extension will be hosting well water clinics in Roanoke in May. The testing is part of the Virginia Household Water Quality Program (VAHWQP), with the goal of improving the water quality and health of Virginians using private water supplies. This includes wells, springs, and cisterns.
Initiated in 1989, VAHWQP drinking water clinics have been conducted in nearly every county across Virginia and 19,500 samples have been analyzed. Results are confidentially returned to participants. Drinking water clinics are organized by Extension Agents and Virginia Tech faculty in the Biological Systems Engineering Department.
Registered participants will pick up sample kit at the Roanoke Extension office with physical distancing measures on Monday, May 15th via drive-through pick up at the Brambleton Center between 4:00 pm and 6:30pm. Samples will need to be dropped off on Wednesday, May 17 between 7:30-9am.
Homeowners will then collect samples in their homes, which will be analyzed at Virginia Tech for lead, iron, manganese, nitrate, arsenic, fluoride, sulfate, pH, total dissolved solids, hardness, sodium, copper, total coliform bacteria and E. Coli bacteria. Results will be available in approximately 4 weeks. All results are kept strictly confidential.
Anyone with a private water supply system (including wells, springs, and cisterns) may participate. The cost is $60 per sampling kit, compared to more than $300 for a comparable test in a private lab. Needs based subsidies are also available to low-income families, renters, and in-home daycares, reducing the cost to $10 per kit.
To participate, Roanoke Valley homeowners should register through the Virginia Cooperative Extension website at www.roanoke.ext.vt.edu or through the VCE office by calling 540-772-7524. Space for is limited and will be filled on a first come, first serve basis.