CORVALLIS - The Oregon State University Extension Service will offer monthly well water clinics in Corvallis and Albany through October.
Coordinated through Extension's Well Water Program, they will include free nitrate screening. Jacqueline Fern, Extension's water quality educator, will conduct the screening and be available to answer questions about well and septic systems.
Persons interested in receiving the free nitrate screening should bring about a half-cup of untreated well water in a clean, water-tight container to the clinic. The test takes five to 10 minutes - unless the clinic is exceptionally busy - and persons may wait for the results, stop by before closing, or bring a self-addressed, stamped envelope and be mailed the results.
Each of the regularly scheduled clinics will include a 30-minute presentation beginning at 12:15 p.m. on nitrates and bacteria in well water.
The Corvallis clinics will be held Tuesdays at the Benton County Extension Office, 1849 N.W. 9th St. in Corvallis, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on June 14, July 26, Aug. 16, Sept. 27 and Oct. 18.
The Albany clinics will be held at the Linn County Extension Office, 4th and Lyons in Albany, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday, June 23; Thursday, July 14; Thursday, Aug. 11; Wednesday, Sept. 7; and Thursday, Oct. 27.
Special clinics will be held from 8 a.m. to noon on June 11 at the Albany Farmers' Market at the downtown riverfront in Albany; and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on July 16 at the Corvallis Farmers' Market, downtown riverfront in Corvallis.
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality recently designated a portion of the southern Willamette Valley as a Groundwater Management Area, based on elevated nitrate levels.
"While it is especially important for households with pregnant women or newborns to test their well water for nitrates because of a rare type of blue-baby syndrome," Fern said, "all homes with private wells should be aware of their nitrate level."
Additional information on well and septic systems, and the Groundwater Management Area, is available online at http://wellwater.oregonstate.edu, or by calling the Well Water Program at 541-737-6295.