The Times News, © 2007

March 8, 2007

The Carbon County Groundwater Guardians (CCGG) will be offering a free educational seminar entitled “How Well is Your Well” on Wednesday, March 14, 2007 at 7 p.m. at the Towamensing Township Municipal Building, 120 Stable Road.

The Groundwater Guardians are offering the seminar, which the group normally presents for a $50 honorarium, at no cost in response to residents’ requests and in honor of National Groundwater Awareness Week, which runs March 11-17, 2007.

Recently, well water tests throughout the county began showing signs of E-Coli and other bacterial contamination. Municipal authorities, who are not responsible for the quality of the water produced by privately owned wells, reported an increase in calls from concerned residents.

“When people hear that the water may be unsafe, they often call on their local township officials for answers,” said Rick Grant, president of the Carbon County Groundwater Guardians. “But when the wells are privately owned, it’s up to the homeowner to test the water and to keep it safe. CCGG is here to teach Carbon County residents how to do that.”

The Carbon County Groundwater Guardians is a Pennsylvania nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that exists to educate local residents about this important natural resource and answer questions about their wells and septic systems.

“How Well is Your Well” is an educational program developed by CCGG members Brian Oram, Keith Lotier and Cindy Kerschner and covers proper well construction and maintenance as well as septic systems. Lotier is an executive with Duane Moyer Well Drilling, Oram is a Professional Geologist (PG) and Laboratory Director of the Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences Department at Wilkes University and Kerschner is a former Penn State Master Gardener and freelance writer.

According to the National Groundwater Association, Pennsylvania has more private water wells then any other state in the nation. It is estimated there are nearly 1 million private wells in the commonwealth, and they are the sole source of drinking water for most rural populations. Water well tests often reveal contamination after periods of heavy rain, when rising surface water enters poorly constructed or improperly maintained wells. While the state requires owners of municipal water wells to test water regularly, there is no law that requires homeowners to test their water.

The Groundwater Guardians recommend that all homeowners have their water tested annually. To make that easier and more affordable, the group has an agreement with Wilkes University to provide low-cost well water test kits to local residents.

“Testing your well for bacterial contamination is not difficult or expensive,” Grant said. “Attendees of this free seminar will learn how wells become contaminated, how to get a well test and what options they have if they find a problem. Brian and Keith are experts in their fields and provide a very informative program.”

The Carbon County Groundwater Guardians will make this seminar available to other townships or municipalities that request the information for residential well owners that live in their jurisdictions. For more information, call Frank Waksmunski at (570) 645-8597 or Rick Grant at (570) 325-2818.

The National Ground Water Association (NGWA), the nation’s leading authority on the use and protection of ground water, sponsors Ground Water Awareness Week. The Automotive Oil Change Association is a cosponsor and promotional partners include U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and The Groundwater Foundation.

Groundwater Guardian is a community-based program affiliated with The Groundwater Foundation, based in Lincoln, Nebraska. Frank Waksmunski, CCGG cofounder, has served on The Groundwater Foundation Council for the past five years. Waksmunski and Grant are also Penn State Master Well Owners. Through Groundwater Guardian, communities bring business, government, educators, and citizens together to work on the common goal of groundwater protection. Carbon County Groundwater Guardians (CCGG) is dedicated to protecting private well owners from illnesses caused by our drinking water. We advance good groundwater stewardship through efforts to raise awareness of residents on a variety of groundwater issues. The CCGG meets on the first Monday of every month at the Emergency Management Agency Center in Nesquehoning. Meetings start at 6:00 pm and are open to the public. Find out more on the CCGG website at