Increasing Awareness of Well Drinking Water Quality of the Farming Community in Maryland

Project Overview

Project Type: Partnership
Funds awarded in 2021: $29,830.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2023
Grant Recipient: University of Maryland Extension
Region: Northeast
State: Maryland
Project Leader:
Dr. Andrew Lazur
University of Maryland Extension

Information Products


Not commodity specific


  • Education and Training: extension, participatory research, technical assistance, workshop
  • Natural Resources/Environment: other
  • Sustainable Communities: quality of life

    Proposal abstract:

    This project serves to develop important snapshot of Maryland farm well drinking water quality and educate the farming community on the importance of well testing and treatment to protect their health. The project engages the farming community to collect important water quality data and determine the extent of contamination by bacteria, inorganic ions, and commonly used pesticides. Farm wells (n=75) in 10 counties located in the five geologic physiographic provinces will be tested for a suite of bacterial and inorganic contaminants, including the four most frequently used pesticides and those previously identified in groundwater. This preliminary data will serve as rationale for development of a comprehensive statewide well Extension program educating farmers on how to care for their wells, test water and use treatment, if warranted. Farmer surveys will be conducted to identify understanding of private wells and water quality, well design, wellhead protection, testing recommendations, contamination risks, health issues, and water treatment. Initial webinars on the project goals and testing protocol education will engage farmers in the project mission and methods. Dissemination of test results, interpretation, and treatment recommendations, if warranted, will be provided to individual farmers. Follow up surveys will be conducted six months post farmer meetings to measure implementation of well protection practices and water treatment. General well drinking water webinars will be provided to the larger farm community. 

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1. Determine Maryland farmers’ understanding of private wells and water quality including well design, wellhead protection, testing recommendations, contamination risks and health issues and water treatment. 
    2. Educate farmers by conducting project overview and testing protocol education webinars on the project, water sampling, and testing procedure/methods
    3. Develop a statewide snapshot of farm drinking water well quality by collecting and analyze water quality data. Participating farms around the state will receive individual water quality analysis results.
    4. Share results and education through webinars and instructional videos including topics on basic well information, wellhead protection, water testing recommendations, interpretation of results and recommendations for well care and water treatment.  
    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.