Well Water Program

Oregon State University

Protecting the groundwater that provides our drinking water through education.

Approximately 23% of Oregonians rely on domestic wells, or private wells, as their primary source of potable water

The goal of the Well Water Program is to help Oregonians protect the groundwater that supplies their drinking water through education. Information available at Well Water Events is now available for your use on this web page.

If you have a well or septic system, look over the many publications available to help you maintain these facilities in good working order; it could save you costly repairs, protect your family's health, and insure the continued safety of your groundwater supply.

If you have questions and don't know where to turn, or can't find the answers to your questions you can contact the program coordinator.

County newsletter news

WATER WORRIES: Farmers, regulators struggle to address nitrate contamination

 September 22, 2022 | Capital Press

Overloading groundwater with nitrates brings to light a health issue that is neither new to agriculture nor unique to any one part of the West. Nitrogen from fertilizer, compost or manure is critical for farmers, who apply it to their fields, but too much can have unintended consequences.

Chrissy Lucas-Woodruff, outreach program coordinator for OSU Extension in the Willamette Valley, has spent the last 15 years working with small-scale farmers, landowners and new residents to educate them about nitrates, and to test their wells.

She said the biggest contributors to nitrates in the area are agriculture, failing septic systems and manure piles. Her hope is that more positions like hers can be filled statewide, allowing for greater awareness of the problem.

“As a domestic well owner and landowner or renter, you have to be proactive in this,” Lucas-Woodruff said. “You should be paying attention to what’s going on with your own water quality. It’s nothing you can see, smell or taste.”

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Well water study signs up Jackson County homeowners

 July 13, 2022 | The Jefferson Exchange

There are many benefits to country living, but water treatment is not among them. Pulling your household water out of a well can bring a few surprises in with the water, and it's up to the homeowner to deal with those surprises.

That can be a big issue in Jackson County, where substances like arsenic and lead have shown up in levels above federal clean water standards.

Oregon State University's Extension Service got federal funding to study wells in the county, and is now recruiting families to take part in the study. We get details on the program and its goals in a visit with Chrissy Lucas, who coordinates the Small Farms and Groundwater Outreach Programs, and Kara Baylog from Southern Oregon Research and Extension Center (SOREC).