Gaston DHHS Visiting Homeowners on Sundays to Ensure Healthy Wells
GASTONIA — In 2015, The Gaston County Department of Health & Human Services was awarded a CDC Safe WATCH grant $667,000 for its Healthy Wells Initiative, a project that will help provide education, resources, and increased access to well records for Gaston County citizens. Now, local well-owners are starting to see the benefits of this exciting initiative.
On Sundays, UNCC public health and earth sciences and geography students (who are also part-time employees with Gaston DHHS) will be visiting local well owners to provide education, offer a brief optional survey, take a free water sample for bacteria, and collect GPS coordinates to help better map all the wells in the county.
“We’re excited about the many benefits that will come from this process,” said Environmental Health Program Administrator Curtis Hopper. “Rather than having to rely on paper records, we will now be able to pull information about individual wells easily through the digitization process and can also more easily identify trends or potential concerns. To be able to do this at no cost to our citizens – as this is completely funded by a federal grant– is a huge opportunity for our county.”
There have been some questions about the validity of these workers coming out on a Sunday, but all Healthy Wells staff should have an identifying badge and are now leaving flyers at people’s homes a couple days before to let them know they’ll be coming out. “We decided Sundays were the best time to catch individuals at their homes based on pilot testing in the initial planning phase,” Hopper added. “Also this time works well for the Healthy Wells staff as many are taking classes at UNCC during the week.”
If you’d like more information about Healthy Wells or other environmental health programs, you can visit www.gastonhealthywells.com or call 704-853-5200 during regular business hours: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. weekdays. If anyone has a question or concern over the weekend, they can call 980-522-0340.