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Florida Home-A-Syst Helps Rural And Suburban Residents Protect Wells

Carole L. Jaworski

Susan W. Williams (352) 392-4508

GAINESVILLE – Concerned about your well water? Want to know how you can protect it from pollution?

If so, a new program from the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences can help. What’s more, it’s free at all UF/IFAS county extension service offices.

The Florida Homestead Assessment System – Home-A-Syst for short – is for non-farm rural and suburban residents who have private drinking water wells and/or septic systems. It’s an easy-to-use self-assessment program that helps users identify environmental risks, learn about better home and property management, and take preventive action.

“Florida Home-A-Syst is important because the state has over 1.5 million wells and almost 1 million septic systems,” says Susan Williams, UF/IFAS Florida Home-A-Syst coordinator. “Individually, home products and activities may not pose much of a threat to groundwater. Together, however, people may contribute significantly to groundwater pollution.”

Casual disposal of household wastes like used motor oil, cleaning products and pesticides can pollute drinking-water supplies and nearby streams, lakes and canals, she says.

The Florida Home-A-Syst program includes a 190-page book that covers such topics as assessment of homesite soil and geological conditions, wells, septic systems, liquid fuels, yard and garden care, trash, hazardous products, storm water management, lead, energy conservation and safety, and indoor air quality. Resource sections list phone numbers, publications, videos, CDs, web sites and computer software that offer more information.

To receive a free copy of the book, contact your local county extension office. Extension agents can also show you a video on Florida Home-A-Syst and further explain the program.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Nonpoint Source Management Section 319 grant funds provided 60 percent, or $90,449, of the support for Florida Home-A-Syst. The UF/IFAS contributed 40 percent.