Monday, March 27, 2017

Solar Power in Virginia Update

The solar panels on my roof are almost seven years old now. As an early adopter- at least in Prince William County Virginia- I have suffered the problems of a steeper than expected learning curve with both the initial installation and design of the system and operation and maintenance problems I have experienced. When my system was installed in 2010 there were almost no solar installations in Virginia. Since then there have been 238.3 Mega Watts (MW) of solar power installed – 192.4 MW installed in 2016 alone. More than half of the solar capacity installed in Virginia has been commercial and utility, but there are now about 24,000 homes like mine powered by solar photovoltaic panels.
 

Over the past seven years solar panel installations have become more uniform, racking systems are now standardized and better and installers have gained experience and knowledge. Yet, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association prices for solar photovoltaic panel installation have fallen 63% in just the past five years. These days I could purchase solar panel array and installation through my electric cooperative, get a better installation and pay a fraction of my initial cost.

I have dealt with the effects of a poor installation and components that have proven to be less than robust in the 4 season climate of Virginia. My solar photovoltaic array has turned out to need regular maintenance and be subject to damage from snow, hail, rain, wind and roofers, and I find myself struggling to find someone to repair something on my system almost every year. Right now I am waiting for a replacement Enphase microinverter for one of the panels.

Don’t get me wrong, I like having solar panels. I feel good about reducing my net electricity use, but it turns out just like heating/air conditioning systems, well, and septic- solar panels are just another system that needs to be maintained, repaired and tended to. The difference is that I could just choose not to have solar panels and just hook up to grid through my fairly low cost electric cooperative. So the solar panels need to financially cost effective. Electricity costs me only $0.114 per kilowatt hour from our electric cooperative.

Let’s judge the system based on the cost and return both then and now. When I purchased my roof mounted solar system in 2009 (though it was not installed until May 2010) the cost per kilowatt for the system was $6,700 plus permits and installation. These days that cost is about $1,800 and may be even lower. The Piedmont Environmental Council has launched “Solarize Piedmont,” that runs through April 30th 2017. Go to pecva.org/solarize, and fill out the sign-up form to get a real estimate of the cost, but I think I could probably have the same system that cost me $58,540 installed for around $19,000 give or take.

That reduction in price goes a long way to make solar a reasonable purchase even with only the Federal and local property tax incentives. When I installed my panels I was able to obtain a state rebate of $12,000 which is no longer available in Virginia. I also used the 30% federal tax credit which is still available. The net cost of the solar system in 2010 after rebates and tax credits was $32,578 today it would be about $13,300 for the same 7.36 kilowatt system.


There is also a property tax exemption in Prince William County (and most counties in Virginia). The exemption is based on the Energy Efficient Buildings Tax Exemption (Code of VA §58.1-3221.2) which allows any county, city, or town to exempt or partially exempt energy efficient buildings from local property taxes. The amount of the exemption is based on the installed cost of solar array. I applied for the exemption last winter and was approved so my property assessment will be reduced for five years by the cost of my solar array. Based on the county property tax rate for last year that translates to a savings of $656.82 each of the 5 years.

A large portion of my return is from something called a SREC, a solar renewable energy credit. A SREC is a credit for each megawatt hours of electricity that is produced, but used elsewhere. SRECs have value only because some states have solar set asides from their Renewable Portfolio Standards, RPS, which require that a portion of energy produced by a utility be produced by renewable power. Right now there are no RPS solar requirements in Virginia, thus no value to SRECs beyond the $10-$15 that a RPS credit is worth.

When I installed my system it was eligible to sell SRECs in Pennsylvania and Washington DC. I registered my Virginia based solar array in the both markets in July 2010 though only Pennsylvania was viable at the time. The Pennsylvania market then collapsed due to regulatory changes after the market was flooded with SRECs, but the District of Columbia increased their RPS solar requirement and financial penalties in 2011 and closed their market to out-of-state systems registered after January 31st 2011 from participating in the DC SREC Market. My system was grandfathered. DC has a favorable regulatory market if you are selling SRECs with robust price supports and is currently the only under-supplied SREC market in the nation. Washington DC is a city with limited non-governmental buildings and no available private land beyond the reservoirs and Blue Plains waste water treatment plant. Luck and geography will probably let SRECs pay off my solar panels in about 18-24 more months from now despite having spent almost $3,800 on repairs not covered by warrantee.

The dollar value of the power I generate from my solar panels is about $1,100 per year based on actual performance. The savings from electricity produced, federal tax rebate, and property tax exemption would take about ten and a half years to pay back the cost outlay today. Even with all the hassles of being an early adopter the incentives I was able to obtain will likely give me a very good return on my investment. My SRECs potentially have some value until 2025 though, based on how the penalties on the solar RPS are structured they will decrease in value over the next few years. The power produced by the panels may be more valuable if the price of electricity ever goes up. Once the system is paid for, I plan to save any additional money from SRECs for the future replacement of the system and my roof. I am planning on that in 2035. Next system I will ground mount easier access for repairs and maintenance.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

WSSC Sewage Pipe Repair Completed


Last Friday, Saint Patrick’s Day, Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) finally announced completion of repairs to the ruptured 20-inch pressurized sewer main at the Piscataway Wastewater Treatment Plant. The plant has now returned to normal operations.

If you recall, on February 9, 2017 a 52-year-old cast iron sewer main broke, causing approximately 3.35 million gallons of untreated sewage and wastewater to overflow into Piscataway Creek before temporary pumps were set up later the same evening to divert the flow into on-site retention basins.

The Piscataway Plant treats about 24 million gallons of wastewater per day. For about 10 hours almost half of all sewage reaching the plant was flowing to the creek as raw sewage until Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) workers were able to divert the flow into retention basins at the plant. Over that first weekend, WSSC crews and contractors installed temporary pumps and bypass piping at the Piscataway Wastewater Treatment Plant. The bypass diverted the majority of the wastewater flow directly into the plant for treatment. The remainder of the flow continued to be pumped into retention basins on plant grounds.

WSSC and contractors would eventually run three temporary pipes, each 2,000 feet in length, moving wastewater around the broken sewer main to the plant. It took several days to excavate the broken pipe for examination because it was located under a concrete-encased structure that contained approximately 120-feet of high-voltage lines. The electric lines were de-energized and the concrete encasement broken apart to find a pipe that had ruptured its entire length. More than 60 feet of damaged pipe was removed and replaced. WSSC says the total cost of the emergency repairs is approximately $1.3 million.

In addition to the repairs, crews drained the retention basins where overflow sewage had been stored sending the untreated wastewater to the plant for treatment. Crews then analyzed the retention basin soil and determined an additional 1.5 million gallons of wastewater permeated the soil in the retention basins. WSSC has been working with officials from the Maryland Department of the Environment and the Prince George’s County Health Department throughout the repair process to address these environmental impacts.



Remember WSSC’s water and wastewater systems are separate. This overflow did NOT affect WSSC’s drinking water.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Well Water Testing Clinic in Loudoun County

 The Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) Office will be holding its annual drinking water clinic for well owners in Loudoun County as part of the Virginia Household Water Quality Program on March 27th 2017. To sign up in Loudoun County you must prepay sending your check for $52 made out to the Treasurer Virginia Tech and the attached sign-up form to the VCE Loudoun Office, 30 Catoctin Circle SE, Suite B, Leesburg, VA 20175. The Loudoun Clinic is filling up fast.

The program consists of two meetings- one to get instructions, learn about the local geology and wells, and pick up test kits, and the other a month later to get results and provide interpretation and recommendations. Samples will need to be dropped off at the VCE  Loudoun Office for analysis a day and a half after the first meeting. The samples will be analyzed for 14 chemical and bacteriological contaminants and the cost $52. Comparable analysis at a private commercial lab would cost $150-$200. Samples will be analyzed for: iron, manganese, nitrate, lead, arsenic, fluoride, sulfate, pH, total dissolved solids, hardness, sodium, copper, total coliform bacteria and E. Coli bacteria.

The Kickoff Meeting will be on March 27, 2017 at 6-7  pm in the Board Chamber on the First Floor, Loudoun County Government Center, 1 Harrison Street, SE, Leesburg, VA  20175
A brief presentation will be given to discuss common water quality issues in your area and instructions for how to properly collect the water samples from your tap. Water sampling kits will be distributed with written sampling directions and a short survey about your water supply for data gathering purposes. 

The samples should be taken early Wednesday morning and then dropped off on Wednesday March 29, 2017, between 7 am and 10am at the VCE Loudoun Office, at 30 Catoctin Circle SE, Suite B, Leesburg, VA 20175.

Results Interpretation Meeting will be held on May 8, 2017 at 6-7:30 pm once more in the Board Chamber on the First Floor, Loudoun County Government Center, 1 Harrison Street, SE, Leesburg, VA  20175. Participants will receive their confidential water test results. A presentation will be given that explains what the numbers on the test report mean and what possible options participants may consider to deal with water problems. Experts will be on hand to answer any specific questions you may have about your water and water system.

Just because your water appears clear doesn’t necessarily mean it is safe to drink. All drinking water wells should be tested at least annually for at least Coliform bacteria and E Coli. Testing is the only way to detect contamination in your water. Testing is not mandatory, but should be done to ensure your family’s safety. Maintenance and ensuring that water is safe to drink is the responsibility of the owner. If there is a pregnant woman or infant in the home the water should be tested. If there is any change in the taste, appearance, odor of water or your system is serviced or repaired then water should be tested to confirm that no contaminants were introduced.

Most of the water quality issues with private wells are from naturally occurring contamination or impurities. While many natural contaminants such as iron, sulfate, and manganese are not considered serious health hazards, they can give drinking water an unpleasant taste, odor, or color and be annoying and persistent problems and EPA has established secondary standards that can be used as guidance. Excessive levels of sodium, total dissolved solids, harness, can be an annoyance and impact appliances. Several of the naturally occurring contaminants that commonly appear in well water are primary contaminants under the Safe Drinking Water Act and can be a health hazard- nitrate, lead, arsenic, floride, and copper.

The VCE Drinking Water Clinics from 2009-2015 testing in Loudoun County found that the most common Contaminants found in the wells of Loudoun County were sodium, coiform bacteria, low pH, maganese and lead.

The presence of total coliform bacteria is an indication that surface water may be entering a well and that there may a pathway for other, more harmful microorganisms. Total coliform was found to be present in 27% of Loudoun County samples. E. coli was found in 6% of the sample and is an indication that human or animal waste is contaminating the groundwater. The most common sources of E. coli is a failing septic system or improperly manage manure from animal operations.

Sodium levels above 20 mg/L was found in 29% of the Loudoun samples. Given the distance from natural salt water sources, this is most likely from water softeners. Excessive levels of maganese, a nuisance contaminant naturally present in our local geology, was found in 13% of Loudoun samples.

Low pH was found in 14% of samples. While not a concern in and of itself low pH can cause the corrosion of metal piping, fixtures and brass fittings and result in elevated lead levels in the water. The testing found first draw lead levels exceeding the EPA trigger level of 0.015 mg/L in 12% of samples.            

Thursday, March 16, 2017

A D in Drinking Water Infrastructure


Every four years the American Society of Civil Engineers, ASCE, grades the infrastructure in the United States, from water mains, sewer systems and plants, power lines connected to homes and businesses and the electrical grid spanning the U.S.; the neighborhood streets and the national highway system, dams, rail roads, airports. The most recent report was released last week with an overall grade of D+ the same as in 2013.

America’s drinking water infrastructure received a grade of D, though the United States still has one of the safest water supplies on the planet. The United States uses 42 billion gallons of water a day to support daily life from cooking and bathing in homes to use in factories, power plant and offices across the country. Six billion of those gallons of water are lost due to leaking pipes. Across the nation, drinking water travels through over one million miles of pipes from water treatment plants to homes and businesses. Many of those pipes were laid in the early to mid-20th century with a lifespan of about 80 years.

In total, there are approximately 155,000 public drinking water supply systems across the country. Most Americans (just under 300 million people) receive their drinking water from one of the nation’s 51,356 larger community water systems. The remainder receive drinking water from private wells or small supply systems. The larger community water systems have an average pipe replacement rate of 0.5% per year. That means that it will take an estimated 200 years to replace the system – more than double the useful life of the pipes.

While water prices are locally determined and are either directly or indirectly used to pay for treatment and delivery of water and maintenance of the system, it has been far too easy to overlook routine system maintenance of the water infrastructure. Part of the problem has been money. Users are charged by how much water they use, and municipal drinking water consumption in the United States has declined by 5% this decade and was flat for 20 years even as the miles of piping, connections and water treatment costs have risen.

Total freshwater use continues to decline in almost every sector of the economy including agriculture, industrial, domestic, and thermoelectric. This decrease in water use is attributed to increased efficiencies in domestic and commercial use (low flush toilets, water efficient appliances, etc.) and the retirement of coal-fired power plants which used tremendous amounts of water. Nonetheless, the expenses associated with water infrastructure have increased significantly as delivery areas expand and change and pipes and equipment reach their end of life. Every day, nearly six billion gallons of treated drinking water, over 14% of the total, are lost due to leaking pipes. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that there are 240,000 water main breaks each year (the majority occur in the winter).

For the large part the water systems are only reacting to the latest service interruption –repairing pipes after they break. In addition, America’s drinking water infrastructure doesn’t stop at pipes, reservoirs, pump stations, and treatment plant upgrades; many threats to drinking water infrastructure can be attributed to the sources of drinking water, such as polluted water bodies, depleted aquifers, and inadequate storage. As watersheds continue to be impacted by shifting population migration, land use changes, consumption trends, and extreme weather, water infrastructure upgrades will be required to meet infrastructure demands in growing locations while the costs maintaining systems in areas of declining population and older systems are skyrocketing.

According to the American Water Works Association, upgrading existing water systems and to meeting the drinking water infrastructure needs of a growing population will require at least $1 trillion and we will need to change the way we think about our infrastructure. We need to replace and upgrade infrastructure before it fails. Ideally, pipe and infrastructure replacement occurs at the end of the average “useful life”; that is, the point in time when replacement or rehabilitation is less expensive than the costs of numerous unscheduled breaks and associated emergency repairs. Rather than waiting for a pipe or system to fail we need to plan for replacement.

The EPA offers some financial support to local governments and utilities in the form of loans through the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, which provides low-interest loans to state and local water infrastructure projects. Each state receiving an allotment must in turn match 20% of the funding. Since the program’s inception, $32.5 billion of low-interest loans have been allocated; however, with needs far surpass the program’s budget. In 2014, Congress authorized a new mechanism to fund primarily large water infrastructure projects over $20 million through the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA). In 2016 Congress appropriated $17 million in funds for the program. Overall, the bulk of water infrastructure funding will have to be paid for by the water users in higher water rates.

The quality of drinking water in the United States remains high, but a legacy of neglecting the infrastructure and emerging contaminants will force the price of water to reflect these costs.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Report Card for America

Every four years, the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Report Card for America’s Infrastructure depicts the condition and performance of American infrastructure. The ASCE assigns letter grades based on the physical condition and needed investments for improvement. The 2017 Infrastructure Report Card reveals America’s cumulative GPA is once again a D+, the same as in 2013. However if you recall, the 2013 report card was a slight improvement from 2009 when we received a D.

The 2017 grades range from a B for Rail to a D- for Transit, illustrating the impact of recent investment in rail ($27.1 billion in 2015 alone) and the lack of investment in transit in the past several. The grades given declined in three categories – Parks, Solid Waste, and Transit, while seven areas improved slightly – Hazardous Waste, Inland Waterways, Levees, Ports, Rail, Schools, and Wastewater. Six categories’ grades remain unchanged from 2013 – Aviation, Bridges, Dams, Drinking Water, Energy, and Roads.


Infrastructure is the backbone of the U.S. economy. It is critical to every nation’s prosperity and the public’s health and welfare. For the U.S. economy to be the most competitive in the world, we need a first class infrastructure system – transport systems that move people and goods efficiently and at reasonable cost by land, water, and air; transmission systems that deliver reliable, low-cost power from a wide range of energy sources; and water systems that drive industrial processes as well as the daily functions in our homes. Yet our investment in infrastructure has been faltering for decades. In the first ASCE Report Card for America’s Infrastructure in 1988, America’s grade was about a C+. We have failed to maintain and expand the infrastructure built by our parents and grandparents.

The costs of doing business and, therefore, prices will increase if surface transportation systems worsen, ports, airports and inland waterways become further outdated or congested, and if water, wastewater and electricity infrastructure systems continue to deteriorate or fail to keep up with changing demand. Increased reliance on electricity to support computer and data-driven systems and industries is particularly important when the cost of service outages and interruptions is business failure. Irregular delivery of water and wastewater services and electricity will make production processes more expensive and divert household disposable income to these basic necessities. The ASCE estimates that the United States needs to invest $4.59 trillion by 2025 to bring its infrastructure to an adequate B- grade, a figure about $2 trillion higher than current projected funding levels. (Current funding levels include only Federal, state and local funding projections.)
from ASCE


If we fail to act ASCE estimates that from 2016 to 2025, each household will lose $3,400 each year in disposable income due to infrastructure deficiencies; and if not addressed, the loss will grow to an average of $5,100 annually from 2026 to 2040. 

Thursday, March 9, 2017

California After the Rains

After five years, the rains and snow have returned to California. Powerful storms brought rain and flooding. Less than 10% of California remains in drought and the reservoirs are full, but some of the most expensive damage from the drought is just becoming visible. California experiences the most extreme variability in yearly precipitation in the nation. The potential for wide swings in precipitation from one year to the next requires that California must be prepared for either floods or drought in any year and has extensive water infrastructure-aqueducts, bridges, dams and more.

California uses about 37 million acre feet of water a year, 26 million acre feet for agriculture and 9 acre feet for all other users. An acre foot is about 326,000 gallons. In non-drought years 30-40% of the water is supplied by groundwater. However in a drought California draws more than 60% of its water from groundwater. The groundwater of the southern Central Valley of California has both an upper unconfined and deeper confined aquifer system. An unconfined, or water -table aquifer is an aquifer whose upper surface is the water table, and is at atmospheric pressure. The water table rises and falls with moisture content that is contained in the soil, and water can be extracted or recharged easily with only seasonal compaction and rebound of the land in wet years.

However, water-table aquifers are usually shallower than confined aquifers and because they are shallow, they are impacted by drought conditions much sooner than confined aquifers. Thus, most water wells draw from the deeper confined aquifers. The water is drawn from the fine-grained confining layers called aquitards. Water enters these aquitards very slowly and the danger is that the compaction of the layers will become permanent. If the water levels are drawn too low, then an irreversible compaction of the fined-grained confining layer occurs and there is permanent subsidence, permanently reducing the storage capacity of underground aquifers, threatening future water supplies; and also lowering the level of the land surface.

Subsidence caused by groundwater pumping in the Central Valley has been a problem in California for decades. Subsidence is also a serious problem for California's water managers, and their infrastructure. The subsidence puts the state and federal aqueducts, levees, bridges and roads at risk of damage. In the past few years subsidence has damaged thousands of public and private groundwater wells throughout the San Joaquin Valley. While there is no comprehensive estimate of damage costs associated with subsidence, California and the federal water agencies have spent an estimated $100 million on subsidence-related repairs since the 1960s and are now projecting $250 million in further repairs.

New NASA radar satellite maps prepared for the California Department of Water Resources show that the land surface continues to sink rapidly in certain areas of the San Joaquin Valley, putting state and federal aqueducts and flood control structures at risk of damage. New NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory radar satellite maps prepared for the California Department of Water Resources in a report released last month, Subsidence in California, March 2015-September 2016, show that the land continues to sink in certain areas of the San Joaquin Valley.

The new NASA report shows that two main areas of subsidence covering hundreds of square miles in California’s Central Valley grew wider and deeper between spring 2015 and fall 2016. The subsidence also intensified at a third area, near Tranquility in Fresno County, where the land surface has settled up to 20 inches during the past 18 months in an area that extends seven miles.

The report also found that subsidence caused by groundwater pumping near Avenal in Kings County (not far from Visalia) has caused the Aqueduct to drop more than two feet. To avoid overtopping the concrete banks of the Aqueduct in these sections, water project operators must reduce flows. The Aqueduct in this area can now carry only 6,650 cubic feet per second (cfs) – 20% less than before.

“The rates of San Joaquin Valley subsidence documented since 2014 by NASA are troubling and unsustainable,” said California Department of Water Resource Director William Croyle. “Subsidence has long plagued certain regions of California. But the current rates jeopardize infrastructure serving millions of people. Groundwater pumping now puts at risk the very system that brings water to the San Joaquin Valley. The situation is untenable.”

In response to the new findings, and as part of an ongoing effort to respond forecast longer droughts in the future the Department of Water Resources is investigating measures to reduce long-term subsidence risk. In addition, the Department of Water Resources will work with local water managers to incorporate reduction of subsidence risk into the implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) signed into law in 2014. Steps being considered are groundwater pumping curtailment, creation of groundwater management zones near critical infrastructure, and county ordinance requirements.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Prince William County 2017 Well Water Clinic

It is time to think about your well. As a private well owner it is your responsibility to maintain your well. Each year you should visually inspect your wellhead. Check the condition of the well casing, well cap to make sure they are in good condition and there are no cracks or other points of entry for pollutants. A sanitary sealed well is your first line of protection. You should also test your water each year.

The Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) Office will be holding its annual drinking water clinic for well owners in Prince William and Loudoun Counties as part of the Virginia Household Water Quality Program. To sign up for the program and order your test kit please call 703-792-7747 or email master_gardner@pwcgov.org. Please register as soon as possible so that the Prince William VCE can order enough test kits.

The program consists of two meetings- one to get instructions, learn about the local geology and wells, and pick up test kits, and the other a month later to get results and provide interpretation and recommendations. Samples will need to be dropped off at the VCE Prince William Office for analysis a day and a half after the first meeting. The samples will be analyzed for 14 chemical and bacteriological contaminants and the cost this year is only $55. Comparable analysis at a private commercial lab would cost $150-$200. Samples will be analyzed for: iron, manganese, nitrate, lead, arsenic, fluoride, sulfate, pH, total dissolved solids, hardness, sodium, copper, total coliform bacteria and E. Coli bacteria.

The Kickoff Meeting will be on March 27, 2017 at 7 - 8:30 pm in the Board Chamber in the McCoart Building, 1 County Complex, Woodbidge, VA 22192
A brief presentation will be given to discuss common water quality issues in your area and instructions for how to properly collect the water samples from your tap. Water sampling kits will be distributed with written sampling directions and a short survey about your water supply for data gathering purposes. Checks (or money orders) for $55 to cover the cost for the analysis and sampling kits will be collected. A friend or neighbor may drop off your check and pick up your sampling kit.

The samples should be taken early Wednesday morning and then dropped off on Wednesday March 29, 2017, between 6:30am and 10am at the VCE Prince William Office, at 8033 Ashton, Suite 105, Manassas 20109

Results Interpretation Meeting will be held on May 8, 2017 at 7 pm once more at the Board Chamber in the McCoart Building, 1 County Complex, Woodbidge, VA 22192. 
Participants will receive their confidential water test results. A presentation will be given that explains what the numbers on the test report mean and what possible options participants may consider to deal with water problems. Experts will be on hand to answer any specific questions you may have about your water and water system. I will be one of volunteers present to help with the program. Come join us.

Just because your water appears clear doesn’t necessarily mean it is safe to drink. All drinking water wells should be tested at least annually for at least Coliform bacteria and E Coli. Testing is the only way to detect contamination in your water. Testing is not mandatory, but should be done to ensure your family’s safety. Maintenance and ensuring that water is safe to drink is the responsibility of the owner. If there is a pregnant woman or infant in the home the water should be tested. If there is any change in the taste, appearance, odor of water or your system is serviced or repaired then water should be tested to confirm that no contaminants were introduced.

Most of the water quality issues with private wells are from naturally occurring contamination or impurities. While many natural contaminants such as iron, sulfate, and manganese are not considered serious health hazards, they can give drinking water an unpleasant taste, odor, or color and be annoying and persistent problems and EPA has established secondary standards that can be used as guidance. Excessive levels of sodium, total dissolved solids, harness, can be an annoyance and impact appliances. Several of the naturally occurring contaminants that commonly appear in well water are primary contaminants under the Safe Drinking Water Act and can be a health hazard- nitrate, lead, arsenic, floride, and copper. The VCE Drinking Water Clinic will test for these.

In addition running the drinking water clinics VCE has established the Virginia Master Well Owner Network (VAMWON), a group of Virginia Cooperative Extension educator/agents and screened volunteers trained in proper well construction and location, appropriate maintenance and protection of wells and springs, interpretation of water tests, and water treatment options. I am one of the volunteers and would be happy to answer any of your questions or meet my neighbors.