By Karen Cimms
The Times News, © 2005

May 5, 2005


Master Well Owner Rick Grant introduces a satellite videoconference on maintaining a safe water supply Tuesday at the Carbon County Emergency Management Agency. The program was sponsored by Penn State’s Master Well Owner Network and the Pennsylvania Ground Water Association, and originated from Penn State’s University Park campus.

About a half-dozen private well owners in Carbon County took advantage of satellite videoconference Tuesday evening at the Carbon County Emergency Management Agency conference room, on the grounds of the Carbon County Correctional Facility.

The program, which lasted a little more than an hour, was aired live at more than two dozen locations throughout the commonwealth, in conjunction with Penn State Cooperative Extension offices.

Master Well Owner Rick Grant introduced the program in Carbon County. Grant is also president of Carbon County Groundwater Guardians.

He explained what it means to be a master well owner, which is a trained volunteer dedicated to promoting the proper construction and maintenance of private water systems in Pennsylvania. He said it is of the utmost importance for private well owners to protect and maintain their wells as there are no regulations governing the construction, protection or maintenance of privates wells in the commonwealth, and no required testing to insure the water is free from contaminants and safe to use.

Presenting the program via satellite was Stephanie Clemens, coordinator of the Master Well Owner Network, and a research assistant at Penn State; Bryan Swistock of the Penn State Cooperative Extension office; and Dr. William Sharpe, professor of Forest Hydrology at Penn State.

In the first portion of the program, Swistock spoke about proper well construction and water testing, and presented two short videos on a model well and on wellhead protection.

Dr. Sharpe spoke about solving water problems, including the use of different water treatment solutions.

Following the scheduled presentations, the panel took questions on air via an 800 number or fax, for about 15 minutes. When the broadcast signed off, Grant, and geologist Brian Oram, Wilkes University, entertained questions from those in the local audience.

For those who were unable to attend Tuesday’s videoconference, or who would like more information on private water systems, go to the Master Well Owner Network Web site at, or visit the Carbon County Groundwater Guardians Web site.