Rural community group offers well test kits

FRANKFORD — The Southeast Rural Community Assistance Project is distributing free well test kits for owners and users of private wells in Delaware.

Co-sponsored by the Delaware Division of Public Health, the two-bottle test kits are available by mail or may be picked up in person at SERCAP’s Frankford office until the end of December.

Jean Holloway

“Well owners and users don’t always realize that their drinking water may be contaminated with things you can’t see, taste or smell. Just because it tastes good, doesn’t necessarily make it safe,” said Jean Holloway, SERCAP’s state manager. “The only way to know for sure is to test your water, and now, it can be done at no additional cost.

“This year, we have enough money in the budget to mail out the kits if someone can’t make it to the office,” said Ms. Holloway. “Last year, we could only hand them out in person. COVID has curtailed some of the planned activities, so we have a little extra money in the budget this year.”

SERCAP has outlined simple instructions for collecting the water samples, but the staff will also gather samples by appointment for homeowners who are unable to do it themselves.

SERCAP recently provided a series of one-hour webinars under this same grant, the last one Nov. 4. Participation was less than anticipated.

“Attendance was a bit disappointing, but if people are interested in attending a webinar and couldn’t make the last series, we can schedule more between now and the end of December if there is enough demand,” said Ms. Holloway.

Since its founding in 1974, SERCAP has been providing training and technical assistance to rural communities and residents.

SERCAP, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit serving seven states from Delaware to Florida, is a member of the Rural Community Assistance Partnership, six similar nonprofits serving all 50 states and the U.S. territories.

The local SERCAP office, located in Frankford, has a staff of four and serves all of Delaware and the Eastern Shores of Maryland and Virginia.

Distribution of the test kits is confined to Delaware because they have been funded by the Delaware Division of Public Health.

Interested well owners and users can contact any of the staff in the Frankford office to receive a kit by mail. To request a test kit by mail, contact SERCAP’s Frankford office at 387-1619.

Kits also may be picked up in person at that office, at 5 Main St., next to the Frankford Volunteer Fire Co.

In the last five years, SERCAP Delaware has been involved in 20 individual community projects, serving a total population in excess of 45,000. An average of 31%, or 5,655, were low-income, and an average of 36%, or 11,419, were minorities. This compares to Delaware’s statewide population of just over 950,000, with a median household income of over $61,000 and about 31% minorities.