CORVALLIS - The Oregon State University Extension Service is offering three sessions of a free class this October to rural residents interested in learning how to maintain their drinking water wells and septic systems.

The class, called "Rural Living Basics," will also provide information on protecting community groundwater.

The sessions will be offered in Linn, Benton and Lane counties and are free of charge, though interested persons should register in advance (information provided below). Instructors are Gail Andrews and Jacqueline Fern of the OSU Extension Service.

A free nitrate screening of well water is offered as part of the class. For the screening, bring a half cup of untreated well water in a clean container a few minutes before the class begins. Results will be available by the end of the class.

"It is especially important for households with pregnant women or newborns to test for nitrates because of a rare type of blue-baby syndrome," Andrews said. "All residents with private wells should be aware of their nitrate level."

The "Rural Living Basics" class is sponsored by the Southern Willamette Valley Groundwater Management Area project team, a multi-agency partnership working to address local nitrate contamination issues. Project information is available at Information on the OSU Well Water Program is available at, or by calling 541-737-6295. Class sessions are scheduled for:

Albany: Oct. 27, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., at the Linn County/OSU Extension Downing Room, 4th Street and Lyons. To register, call the Linn County Extension office at 541-967-3871, or e-mail

Corvallis: Oct. 25, from 6:30 to 9 p.m., at the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library, 6th Street and Monroe. To register, call the OSU/Benton County Extension Office at 541-766-6750, or e-mail

Eugene: Oct. 19, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., at the OSU/Lane County Extension Office, 950 W. 13th Ave. To register, call the office at 541-682-4243, or 1-800-872-8980, or send an e-mail to

Click photos to see a full-size version. Right click and save image to download.


Gail Andrews, 541-737-6294