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Suzanna R. Roffe Montana State University Extension Water Quality Program CSREES Northern Plains and Mountains Region. Montana Well Water Test Program Past to Present Approaches. Primary Articles.

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montana well water test program past to present approaches
Suzanna R. Roffe

Montana State University Extension Water Quality Program

CSREES Northern Plains and Mountains Region

Montana Well Water Test Program Past to Present Approaches
primary articles
Primary Articles
  • Bauder, J.W. 1993. Assessing Extension Program Impact: Case Study of a Water Quality Program. J. Nat. Resour. Life Sci. Educ., 22:133-144
  • Bauder, J.W. 1993. Physiographic and Land Use Characteristics Associated with Nitrate-Nitrogen in Montana Groundwater. J. Environ. Qual., 22:255-262
  • Bauder, J.W., B.A. White, and W.P. Inskeep. 1991. Montana extension initiative focuses on private well quality. J. Soil Water Conserv. 46:69-74
  • Bauder, J.W. 1990. Extension Well-Water Test Program. Montana AgResearch, Summer/Fall 1990
outline
Outline
  • Background of Montana
  • 1989 Well Water Test Program
    • Overview
    • Methods and Materials
    • Results and Participant Assessment
    • Implications
  • 2004 Reinstitution
    • Approaches
montana background
Montana Background
  • Population
    • ~900,000 (2002 census)
    • 6.2 people/sq mile
  • Economy
    • Agriculture – wheat, barley, sugar beets, cattle
    • Natural Resources – forest products, copper, silver, gold, natural gas, oil
    • Tourism
changing face of montana
Changing face of Montana

Decrease in Agriculture

  • Competitive markets
  • Declining workforce
  • Drought – 5+ yrs
    • Soil moisture
    • Reservoir storage
    • Surface water
    • Groundwater
    • Forest moisture

levels

changing face of montana1
Changing face of Montana
  • Decrease in Agricultural Lands
    • Subdivisions
    • “ranchettes”
    • Conservation Reserve Program (CRP)
    • Commercial property
increase in private wells
Increase in Private Wells
  • Mid 1990’s = 65,000 domestic wells
  • Groundwater fed
    • 94% rural domestic water supply
    • 39% public water supply
  • On or adjacent to agricultural lands
  • Water quality and quantity issues
  • Education for private well water users.
1989 well water test program
1989 Well Water Test Program
  • Montana State University Extension Water Quality Program and Montana Department of Health and Environmental Sciences
  • Prompted by 1988 “Well Aware” Program
  • Spring and fall of 1989 and 1990
program overview
Program Overview
  • Target audience – Montana private well owners
  • Goals – educate and empower
    • Educate public on water quality issues.
    • Improve the decision-making skills of private well owners.
    • Secure information for areas related to groundwater quality.
overview
Overview
  • Methods
    • Provide convenient, inexpensive water testing for rural well water users.
    • Suite of educational resources provided
  • Outcomes – comprehension, change, and competency
methods and materials participation
Methods and MaterialsParticipation
  • Voluntary and provided to all Montana counties.
  • Leadership provided by
    • County extension offices
    • Farm Bureau offices
    • Local conservation districts
  • Press release to Montana based agriculture magazine
  • 1989 and 1990 – 3342 wells, 53 counties
methods and materials resources
Methods and MaterialsResources
  • Educational videos
    • General water quality issues – Protecting Montana’s groundwater. (Johnson)
    • Specific sampling and sample submission procedures – Sampling your drinking water. (Bauder)
  • 12 fact sheets
methods and materials testing
Methods and MaterialsTesting
  • Parameters – indices of possible contaminants
    • pH
    • Coliform bacteria
    • Total dissolved solids (TDS)
    • Na+ concentration
    • NO3 - - N
  • Sampling
    • Two sample containers, mailing labels, sampling instructional video
    • Two samples taken – fecal coliform and chemical analysis
    • 30 day sampling period
methods and materials follow up
Methods and MaterialsFollow-up
  • Test results – significance, interpretation, recommendation
  • Summaries – by county
  • Seminar series – 3 months after final testing period
    • Health issues
    • Water quality policy
    • NO3—N contamination
    • Well disinfection
    • Point-of-use treatment
  • Follow-up questionnaire – 44% return rate
results and assessments demographics
Results and Assessments Demographics
  • Entire sample
  • Geographic location
    • Southeast and south central region
    • Northern Great Plains region
    • Central and western region
  • Farm vs. Non Farm
    • 56% farm or ranch
    • 44% non farm
  • Education level
results and assessments participant action and opinions
Results and AssessmentsParticipant Action and Opinions

What is the source of contaminants?

  • Septic or sewer systems
  • Naturally occurring
  • Livestock
  • Faulty well system

How do you treat the contaminants?

  • Coliform bacteria
  • Hard water
  • NO3 - - N
results and assessments program value and information transfer
Results and AssessmentsProgram Value and Information Transfer
  • Most valued program feature
    • Water test results (89%)
    • Cost of program (76%)\
    • Information on WQ protection (64%)
    • Specific treatment information (50%)
  • Increased awareness of well WQ issues and well water protection (83%)
  • Preferred resources
    • Printed text
    • One-on-one consulting
    • Videos, phone communication with specialist, workshops, TV programs, and audio tapes
opportunity for better beps
Opportunity for better BEPs
  • Target the audience.
  • Specify audience by need.
  • Target specific educational resources.
  • Structure resources to suite the educational level of audience.
  • Provide information that has immediate utility to audience and program.
2004 reinstitution of the program
2004 Reinstitution of the Program
  • Annual well water test program
    • Stand alone
    • Self directed
    • Inexpensive
    • Low maintenance
  • Methods
    • 10 fastest growing counties
    • Initial demographic questionnaire
    • Extension offices for sampling materials
    • Contracted analytical lab
    • Educational needs assessment survey
future horizons of beps in montana
Future Horizons of BEPs in Montana
  • Public radio, television, and newspaper advertisements
  • More communication with county agents
  • Internet educational resources
  • Distant delivery programs
partners
Partners
  • James Bauder, MSU Water Quality Specialist
  • Krista Pearson, MSU Information Coordinator and 2004 Well Test Program Director
  • CSREES Northern Plans and Mountains Region 8