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Tennessee Private Wells Project

The Tennessee Private Wells Project is a multi-methods pilot study conducted in rural Tennessee. The project was a collaborative effort with the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH), funded by the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA). The goal of this project was to develop a methodology to estimate populations reliant on private well drinking water sources and associated risk of contamination. In the summer of 2021, the team developed geospatial methods for estimating populations reliant on private wells. They also conducted fieldwork in two counties, collecting water samples and surveys from private well owners. Lastly, they developed a risk-based map to estimate potential areas where geological/environmental/anthropogenic sources of groundwater contamination may be present. The methods developed in this pilot study will be utilized by TDH to conduct targeted public health interventions and estimate environmental risks in Tennessean communities.

Fieldwork in Perry and Hickman counties

Research Assistants: Mariah D. Caballero (Lead) & Austin Fernandez

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Yolanda J. McDonald

Public Scholarship

  • Caballero, M. D., Fernandez, A., McDonald, Y. J., and Manners, J. (March 2022). Tennessee DOH’s Approaches to Estimating Private Wells, Private Well Users, and Risk Estimation [Webinar]. NEHA 2022 Surveillance, Treatment, And Well Testing Approaches for Safe Groundwater and Private Wells Webinar Series, virtual.
  • “TN Private Wells Project” presentation given to the National Environmental Health Association, Fall 2021.

Theoretical Frameworks: