News to Use Archive: Water

Becky Daugherty

Delaware County SWCD

Do you know what is in your Drinking Well Water?

Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. When was your well water last tested?

  2. When was your wellhead last inspected?

  3. Have you noticed a change in taste, color, or odor?

  4. Has your septic system failed recently?

  5. Is anyone in your home pregnant?

Answers to these and other questions will help you determine if it's time. You should have your water tested annually. If there is no record of testing or you're considering buying a home with a well --- It's time! Testing should also take place after a new well is drilled, before installing a treatment system, after a flooding event, or if you answered yes to questions 3, 4 or 5 above. Do you know what your water should be tested for?

Common contaminants that may pose health risks are: bacteria, nitrates, lead, and arsenic, among others. How can you have your water tested? We are here to help. Delaware County Soil and Water Conservation District has received grant funding to offer FREE drinking water testing to residents of Delaware County. Even if you have municipal water, if your home was built before 1978, we will have your drinking water tested for lead and copper (coming from the pipes). Contact us at 765-747-5531 ext 3 or to schedule an appointment for sampling. Interested in learning more about caring for your well or water supply?

Visit websites:,,, and

Lastly, remember - Private well water is unregulated by both the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Well owners are responsible for their own safety when drinking from a private water well.


Delaware County Soil and Water Conservation District is offering free drinking water sampling for residents of Delaware County. If samples are from a well, testing will be performed for bacteria, arsenic, lead, copper, and nitrates. If samples are from a public source, testing will only be for lead and copper. Contact us to schedule an appointment - 765-747-5531 ext 3 or

How can you conserve water?

Source: DIG IT! The Secrets of Soil Bookmark

  1. Turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth

  2. Only run your dishwasher when it is full

  3. Shorten your shower by a few minutes

  4. Adjust the water setting on your clothes washer for smaller loads

  5. Install a rain barrel to have water for your garden, plants, and/or lawn

  6. Didn't drink all your coffee? Water plants with it (let it cool first)

  7. When washing your car at home, wash on the lawn- not the driveway or street

  8. Repair leaking faucets or toilets

  9. Put aerators on your faucets

  10. Boiled pasta or potatoes, etc? This water is also good to water plants with (again, let it cool first),

  11. Turn the water off while lathering soap on your hands or body

  12. Compost rather than using the garbage disposal in your sink

  13. Place a plastic bottle filled with water in your toilet tank, you'll use less water when flushing.

What other ways can you think of to conserve water?

Conservation Adoption - Upper White River Watershed Study

The Natural Resources Social Science lab at Purdue University conducted surveys and interviews with stakeholders in the Upper White River watershed to explore perceived opportunities for and barriers to conservation practice adoption.

Among producers responding to the survey, cover crops were the most familiar practice, conservation tillage had the highest adoption rate, and nutrient management was the least familiar practice.

The producers familiar with these practices indicated the following factors limit their abilities or willingness to adopt these conservation practices: time or management required, lack of equipment or technology, and/or lack of information on economic benefits.

From interviews with a variety of agricultural related personnel, four key elements that would encourage conservation adoption are: local leadership that can develop personal relationships with the watershed community, collaboration between local, state, and federal agencies based on watershed boundaries, tailor programs to producers needs and reduce paperwork burden to enable enrollment, and integrate private sector partners, connect to urban populations, and engage consumers.

We owe Jesse Landess and his donors many, many THANKS for bringing an Augmented Reality Sandbox to Delaware County.

Mississinewa River Cleanup

We found just about everything you could imagine during the recent Mississinewa River Cleanup -- including 24 tires and a kitchen sink!!! We launched at West Rock in Eaton and pulled out just west of Highway 3. Thank you to the volunteers for their teamwork in pulling out tires, pieces of metal, a bicycle, a road barricade, and more. Also a big THANK YOU to our sponsors: Lancaster Septic Service, the Klinger Family, Eaton EMS, Chris at West Rock, Delaware County Stormwater Board, Dalton Janitorial Supply, and Muncie Delaware Clean and Beautiful.

Where is your watershed?

The bold blue line indicates the division of Delaware County between the Upper White River Watershed on the south and the Mississinewa River Watershed on the north. The arrow points to the White River on the east side of Muncie.

Most rural residences in Delaware County use well water for drinking, while Muncie residents depend on what is known as surface water, i.e. the White River. As shown below, Delaware County is part of 2 different watersheds, but regardless of which watershed you live in, YOU affect the quality of the water. How can you help? Rain barrels collect water from your roof, decreasing storm water runoff and providing "free" water to use for gardens, trees, lawns, etc. Planting a tree has many benefits, from reducing evaporation to filtering pollutants. Wash the family vehicle in the yard, rather than on the driveway or street, so detergents are filtered through the soil instead of going into the storm drain. Don't dispose of chemicals by by pouring them into the storm water drains. If you fertilizer your lawn, use phosphorus-free fertilizer. One of the easiest ways to help protect your water is to not litter. Litter can get into storm drains, then into the river.

For more information or to apply contact our office office at: 765-747-5531 ext. 3, by email:, or stop by: 3641 N Briarwood Lane, Muncie

White River Dam Removal Underway

Becky Daugherty

Delaware County SWCD

The dam at east Jackson Street, also known as the Indiana Steel & Wire Dam was demolished and removed Aug. 19 through Aug. 21. Removal of the George R. Dale dam, also known as the McCulloch Dam, began on Aug. 26.

The next step is to create a "fish ladder" at the West Fork Dam, also known as the Muncie Waste Water Facility Interceptor Dam. A fish ladder creates shorter "steps" and pools of water at a dam, to make fish migration up stream easier. Removal of the dams will allow the White River to revert to its natural channel and flow. This will aid fish migration, improve the water for aquatic life, and allow additional recreational activities on the river. Another part of this project is to post signage along the river for safety and informational purposes for water sport enthusiasts. Delaware County Soil and Water Conservation District is pleased to be a partner on this project with the Edmund F. and Virginia B. Ball Foundation, Community Enhancement Projects Inc., Indiana Department of Natural Resources, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and Muncie Sanitary District Bureau of Water Quality.

Conservation in the White River Headwaters

Seth Harden

The Nature Conservancy

The historical and cultural importance of the upper reaches of the West Fork White River in Indiana have long been known. Place names such as Muncie (Munsee or Munsee Town), Delaware, and Wapahani are all indicative of the people who lived and valued the region for its rich resources. Iconic brands like Ball Corporation and the Indiana Bridge Company brought prosperity, innovation, and philanthropy to the area.

The region is defined by hardworking people in a blend of sectors supporting rural and urban lifestyles, truly representative of the central Midwest.

The White River watershed is also rich with productive topsoil and other natural resources, the very resources that drew the Indians and early settlers there in the first place. Abundant rainfall and adequate growing days allow for cash crops including corn, soybeans, wheat, and tomatoes. Modern agriculture in eastern Indiana is producing food, fiber, and fuel for domestic and international markets.

Agricultural land adjacent to the White River and it tributaries, sets itself apart as being some of the most productive in the state. However, the proximity of productive agriculture and water resources also poses challenges.

While conservation efforts by government agencies, non-profits, and private landowners have been consistent, the White River watershed should be prioritized for additional investment for several important reasons.

First, modeled data from the US Geological Survey indicates that the upper White River watershed, a region that doglegs through Indianapolis from Morgan county in the south to Randolph county on the eastern end, is in the highest tier of nutrient contributing sub-watersheds to the Gulf of Mexico hypoxic zone across the entire Mississippi River basin.

Additionally, records of state and federal conservation funding indicate that the watershed, particularly north and east of Hamilton county has been overlooked for at least two decades.

The Nature Conservancy (TNC), a global NGO focused on the advancement of science-based conservation, is looking to fill that shortfall by supplementing current work and advancing new initiatives.


With financial support from the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust and Corteva Agriscience, TNC has defined objectives to accomplish the following:

A) Partner with academic institutions to better understand the barriers and opportunities pertaining to conservation practice adoption, based on social science research conducted locally.

B) Invest in organizations and businesses that are helping farmers and landowners accomplish conservation objectives on their land.

C) Lead education and outreach efforts to bring awareness of the White River and its importance to local, state, and national decision makers.

D) Assist local conservation agencies in building capacity through direct investment and in-kind support.

E) Help define and maximize the return on investment for conservation efforts and spending to expedite progress towards collective environmental goals.

The Nature Conservany is embarking on a directed set of projects that we are confident will have enduring impact for the White River, natural biodiversity of the region, and the people who rely on it for drinking water and recreation.

That being said, we cannot do it alone. Many of our trusted conservation partners have already shared their experience, knowledge, and cultural awareness, to set us up for successful collaboration.

If you would like to learn more about The Nature Conservany efforts or share your own valuable insight, please feel free to send me an email or give me a call.

Seth Harden, Upper Wabash River Project Director, The Nature Conservancy,, 765-414-5861