Many residents in Texoma are utilizing water wells as a new source of drinking water, but health officials are warning people they need to get their new water source tested for bacteria.
Laboratory Water Pollution Administrator for the Wichita Falls/Wichita County Public Health District Jennifer Chewens said, "Since we've gone to stage three drought we have seen an increase in the number of wells being drilled and also being tested. Private wells that were already in use for watering their grass or for any other kind of irrigation and now they want to make sure its available to drink."
The biggest concerns for unfiltered ground water are E. Coli and other contaminants in runoff from agricultural areas.
Fortunately, the process of testing for these containments is easy and affordable. Residents can pick up a free test kit from the Public Health District. The test kit has a special bottle to fill with water and lots of information.
"It takes 24 hours for the testing," Chewens said. "We set them up at 3:00 p.m., and we generally have them done between 3:00-4:00 the next day. It will tell us if there's any contamination from bacteria."
Testing the water at the Public Health District will cost $15.00, but it's a cost many people think is worth it. Chewens estimates they test between 10 and 20 bottles every week.
The Wichita Falls/Wichita County Public Health District is open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.