The National Ground Water Association (NGWA) is taking the lead on an effort to better understand how public outreach affects the actions of private well owners when it comes to water quality and health. The study, funded by a $78,358 grant, is being carried out for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“Private well owners are a widely dispersed group of people that reach into mostly rural areas of every state,” says Cliff Treyens, NGWA public awareness director. “Historically, the challenge has been not only to reach them but to do so with information and messages that move them to act in ways that protect their water quality and health.”

The first step in the research consists of a literature search and analysis by the Ohio State University College of Public Health. The second part will involve interviews by NGWA and the Water Quality Association (WQA) with well owner outreach managers. The literature and interviews are expected to create a better understanding of best practices for reaching out to water well owners.

OSU has already begun its literature search and analysis. NGWA and WQA will likely begin interviewing in the spring.

“While there are many organizations involved in trying to educate people who own water wells for their drinking water supply, motivating them to stay on top of their water quality remains a difficult task,” said Treyens. “Our goal for this project is to gain greater insight into how to help well owners.”

NGWA is a nonprofit that supports responsible development, management and use of water resources. It’s comprised of groundwater professionals ranging from contractors to equipment manufacturers to scientists and engineers. For more information, visit