The free 10-week course provides groundwater science education and technical assistance for well owners, public health officials and others interested in well care best practices. And beginning in early 2016, sanitarians working toward a credential program managed by an NEHA affiliate can earn one continuing education credit for every how-to lesson completed.
“Our close partnership with NEHA ensures that private well owners who reach out to local health departments for information receive more accurate advice,” says Steve Wilson, director of the Private Well Class program.
Since 2012, more than 4,500 homeowners and professionals have learned how to protect source water from contamination, conduct water samples and interpret results from this web-based curriculum. Many of the participants—who hail from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam—have also customized their experience by watching informational videos and downloading the Private Well Class Podcast.
Christl Tate, a project coordinator with NEHA, underscores the cross-cutting impact of the Private Well Class curriculum.
“Originally intended for well owners, this course has proven to be a resource for environmental health professionals for basic well and groundwater understanding,” he said.
The Private Well Class is led by the Illinois Water Resources Center and the Illinois State Water Survey. Funding is provided by a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Additional partners include the Rural Community Assistance Partnership and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.