The Private Well Conference

National Stakeholder Meeting: May 23-25, 2017

The 2017 Private Well Conference is believed to be the first of its kind, being both national in scope and exclusively focused on private drinking water supplies. This conference will bring together members of the private well community to learn new ideas and share experiences to strengthen outreach, education, and research programs around the country.

The 2.5 days will be feature a mixture oral presentations from invited speakers and accepted abstracts (see call below), as well as panel discussions, a "lightning session", and opportunities for networking. 
Funding for this conference and the Private Well Class program comes from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP).


The Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP) and the University of Illinois, through the Illinois State Water Survey and the Illinois Water Resources Center, invite you to submit an abstract to present at the 2017 Private Well Conference. 

Abstracts for presentations can be submitted using the link below until January 20th, 2017 at 5 pm CST. Presentations focusing on lessons learned, successful and novel ideas, how to’s, and takeaway messages that will give attendees practical approaches and methods that they can take home and use will be given priority.

Topics of interest for the presentations include:

  • Challenges in Assisting Well Owners
  • Innovative Outreach and Education
  • Partnering or Funding Successes
  • Well and Well Construction Issues
  • Data Availability for Well Owners
  • Lead and Common Contaminant Issues
  • Well Stewardship
  • Private Wells/Springs and Vulnerable Geology
  • Drought & Flood Effects on Private Wells
  • Well Owner Challenges
  • Regulatory and Industry Challenges and Issues
  • Home Treatment Issues
  • County/Local Outreach & Education
  • State & Federal Perspectives

Abstract submission has closed.


The following speakers have been confirmed for the conference program.

  • Barbara Liukkonen, University of Minnesota Water Resources Center (retired) – Social dimensions of private well testing, focusing on why people don't test their water.

  • Karen Bridges, Water System Council – The most common questions, well owner needs, and common issues from a well owner hotline that receives 300 calls a month.

  • Kelsey Pieper, Virginia Tech University – What practitioners need to know about lead in private wells, premise plumbing, and drinking water.

  • Judy Manners, Tennessee Department of Health – Springs as private water supplies, what you need to know and how to deal with them.

  • Bryan Swistock, Penn State University – Novel ideas and success stories from over 20 years of outreach and education in PA.

  • Pierce Rigrod, New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services – The "Be Well Informed" tool for evaluating private well water quality.

  • Diane Boellstroff and Drew Gholson, The Texas Well Owner Network, Texas A & M University – Takeaways and lessons learned from developing a successful well owner outreach program.

  • Sarah Puls and Sue Yellowtail, Lane County Oregon Environmental Health – A novel and free county water testing program offered through local high schools, allowing students hands-on experiences with testing and private well issues.

  • Peter DiPippo, Rhode Island Department of Health – Issues, examples, and experiences within Rhode Island’s required private well testing program.

  • Erin Ling, Virginia Tech University Extension – Lessons learned from a sustainable sampling and education program for well owners in Virginia.

  • Jim Weaver, USEPA Using GIS, environmental factors, and demographics to determine areas likely to rely on private wells, and why we don't know more about where private wells are in use.

  • Steve Wilson, Illinois State Water Survey Initial takeaways about wells and well owners today from RCAP's assessment program.

In addition to the 30-minute oral presentations, there will also be panel discussion featuring drillers from around the country and their view of the private well issues well owners, educators, and regulators face.  There will also be a 90 minute “lightning session” where attendees will be given the opportunity to spend 5 minutes describing an innovative aspect of their program.

Contact Information

Planning for the conference is underway and questions may be addressed to Steve Wilson.


Details At a Glance

May 23-25, 2017 (2.5 days)
Champaign, IL

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