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6 April 2010 | Printer friendly

Voluntary monitoring of wells, Marijampolė County

Country: Lithuania

Project: Voluntary monitoring of wells, Marijampolė County

Organisation: Station of Nature Research and Environmental Education

Representative: Arūnas Balsevičius


Winner of the 2nd CEHAPE awards for good practice in environment and health.

- School children keep well water safe

Piped water is a rarity in rural areas of Lithuania. This means that more than one in four of the country‘s population relies on drinking water from wells. This water is not always safe to drink. The contamination is both biological and chemical, with high levels of nitrates in the water being a serious concern.

The Station of Nature Research and Environmental Education started a community clean up of the water in wells over 10 years ago. Today, student teams from 37 schools in Marijampolė County are gathering water samples from these wells in a project financed by the administrations of Marijampolė County municipalities.

Once the samples are collected and the analysis of the water completed, the school children provide the feedback to the community. They also give information on the health risks associated with different types of water contamination and advice on how households can keep the wells clean and safe.

Special attention is given to wells used by households of families with children.

The sample gathering and information work by the students is ongoing. Each gathering and testing of samples in the project area takes place over the course of three years.

To keep the volunteers motivated, the best groups of students are invited on a free annual outing. In operation over a decade, the project now has available the results of three, three-year cycles of tests. The results show that water quality in the wells is improving.

The monitoring and education is producing clear benefits, which is motivating for everyone involved. Each year, new results are presented at an annual scientific conference. They are also shared with the municipality authorities that fund the project and with newspaper editors and television reporters.

Investigations at the well in the village of Pilviskiai.

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