Groundwater quality in Tennessee varies widely across the state. While the western region is known for its reliable water sources, the geological composition in the middle and eastern parts of Tennessee creates differences in groundwater quality.

West Tennessee primarily features aquifers in sand units, contrasting with Middle and East Tennessee, where aquifers are predominantly found in rock units. The bedrock aquifers in these regions often exhibit inconsistent water quality, varying significantly from one location to another.

Scott and Darleen Dobbins constructed their first home in rural Tazewell, Tennessee, located in Claiborne County in the eastern part of the state. As newcomers to private well ownership, they naturally became concerned about water quality.

Initial testing of their raw water revealed the presence of bacteria. Additionally, there were instances in the past when the water supply dwindled during periods of severe drought, a common occurrence in East Tennessee.

Seeking solutions to address these concerns, the Dobbins reached out to the Environmental Services Team at Communities Unlimited (CU) for assistance. CU staff conducted a thorough well assessment and gathered water samples for laboratory testing.

During the site visit, CU staff identified deficiencies in the wellhead, including its height above ground level, and advised the homeowner about the need for a sanitary seal. Given the previous testing on raw water, it was determined to analyze the water post-treatment, which involved utilizing a carbon filter and an ionizer.

In the following weeks, the test results came in, indicating the absence of bacteria in the water. This news came as a significant relief to the Dobbins, who were pleased to learn that their water was devoid of contamination.

“We drink, cook, bath, water our livestock, and take full advantage of our water system,” Scott and Darleen Dobbins said in a letter of support to CU. “Knowing the levels of chemicals and bacteria in our system gives us peace of mind.”

For many residents in East Tennessee, having access to safe water, like the Dobbins family now does, is not a common privilege. Thanks to the assistance provided by CU, the Dobbins can now consume water without any concerns or apprehensions. When guests visit their home, the Dobbins can rest assured knowing that their water is safe for everyone.

“This story shows the impact that our private well program can have on the lives of people who reach out to us. Given the amount of moving that has taken place in the past few years, there are more and more people that are relying on a private water supply for the first time. This was just one example of that and how the assessments and testing we conduct are so important.”

— Brett Capps, Source Water Project Manager, CU