Surveying New Mexico’s Private Well Users About Well Characteristics and Water Testing Practices

Tuesday, February 23, 2016: 2:50 p.m.
Kathryn Hayden , New Mexico Environment Department, Santa Fe, NM

Little is known about private water well characteristics and water testing practices of private, domestic well users in New Mexico. The New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) has been conducting free testing events for private domestic well owners since 1982. Through interactions with well users and basic surveys conducted at the events, NMED has been able to gain some insight into testing practices and well characteristics. However, surveys conducted during the events prior to 2014 were limited, only containing questions about the marketing, dates, and times of the events. In 2014 the New Mexico Environment Department, in conjunction with the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH), began conducting more detailed surveys to better understand the characteristics of private wells in New Mexico and the individuals who rely on them for drinking water. In addition to information about event marketing, dates, and times, NMED and NMDOH began collecting information about water testing behaviors of well users, including when well users last tested water from their wells; the analytes for which well users previously had their well water tested; and any reasons for not testing well water for a variety of analytes. The new surveys also request more detailed information about well characteristics including locations, construction materials, depths, and suspected concerns. This presentation is an analysis of the results of the new surveys administered by NMED and NMDOH at water testing events, along with a summary of how this information will be used in the future.

Kathryn Hayden, New Mexico Environment Department, Santa Fe, NM
Kathryn Hayden is an Environmental Scientist with the New Mexico Environment Department Groundwater Quality Bureau. She works in the bureau’s Pollution Prevention Section managing the EPA Clean Water Act §319 Domestic Well Testing program and conducting permitting, compliance, and enforcement activities for discharges that have the potential to impact groundwater quality. She has published several biochemical studies through the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology (NMT) Department of Biology and conducted a water audit for the City of Socorro as part of a master’s degree. Hayden received a B.S. in Environmental Science and an M.S. in Environmental Engineering from NMT.