Pennsylvania Farm-A-Syst: Getting Started: Preliminary Screening Quiz

Everything we do affects groundwater or surface water quality. Evaluation worksheets are available for farmstead management practices and site conditions.
Pennsylvania Farm-A-Syst: Getting Started: Preliminary Screening Quiz - Articles
Pennsylvania Farm-A-Syst: Getting Started: Preliminary Screening Quiz

Everything we do affects groundwater or surface water quality. Evaluation worksheets are available for farmstead management practices and site conditions. This preliminary screening quiz can help prioritize more detailed farmstead evaluations, which are available through the Pennsylvania Farm-A-Syst program.

I. Evaluating Water Supply System Condition and Location

If your drinking water comes from a public water supply, go to Section II.

YesDon't KnowNo
1. Do you have a well less than 50 feet deep?
2. Do you have a dug well or driven well, rather than a drilled well?
3. Was your well built more than 50 years ago?
4. Does your well casing extend less than 12 inches above ground level?
5. Is there a depression around your well casing?
6. Can you see any cracks or holes in your well casing?
7. Is your water supply downhill from any potential contamination sources (bacteria, pesticides, fertilizers, manure, or other pollutants)?
8. Is your water-supply system located closer to potential pollution sources than the local code specifies
9. Are there abandoned wells on your property that have not been properly plugged?

If you answered “yes” or “don’t know” to any of the questions in this section, refer to Pennsylvania Farm-A-Syst worksheet “ Water Well Condition and Construction.” This worksheet contains valuable information that can be used to develop an action plan for reducing the risk of contamination to groundwater. If you answered “no” to the questions, proceed to the next section.

Information derived from Pennsylvania Farm-A-Syst worksheets is intended only to provide general information and recommendations to farmers regarding their own farmstead practices. It is not the intent of this educational program to keep records of individual results. However, they may be shared with others who will help you develop a resource management plan.

II. Evaluating Household Wastewater Treatment Systems

If there is no on-site, residential wastewater treatment system on the farmstead, continue to Section III.

YesNoDon't Know
1. Is your on-site wastewater treatment system less than 50 feet from your water supply system (well, cistern)?
2. Is your on-site wastewater treatment system less than 100 feet from a water body (streams, lakes,etc)?
3. Has it been longer than three years since you had your septic tank cleaned out?
4. Do you pour grease, oil, or leftover household chemicals down your drain?

If you answered “yes” or “don’t know” to any of the questions in this section, refer to the worksheet titled, “ Household Wastewater Treatment System.” This worksheet contains valuable information that can be used to develop an action plan for reducing the risk of contamination to groundwater and surface water supplies. If you answered “no” to the questions, proceed to the next section.

III. Evaluating Pesticide and Fertilizer Storage and Handling Practices

YesDon't KnowNo
1. Do you store fertilizer products on your farmstead?
2. Do you store pesticides on your farmstead?
3. Do you mix, apply, or store pesticides within 150 feet of any water supply system?
4. Do you fill your sprayer tank with a hose that does not have an anti-backflow device or put the hose in the tank so that it is below the water line during filling?
5. Do you leave your sprayer tank unattended while filling?
6. Do you rinse out your sprayer tank near your water supply system (well, cistern, etc.) or a water body?

If you answered “yes” or “don’t know” to any of the questions in this section, refer to the worksheet titled, “ Pesticides and Fertilizer Storage and Handling.” This worksheet contains valuable information that can be used to develop an action plan for reducing the risk of contamination to groundwater and surface water supplies. If you answered “no” to the questions, proceed to the next section.

IV. Evaluating Barnyard Conditions and Management

YesDon't KnowNo
1. Is your on-site water-supply system less than 50 feet from your barnyard?
2. Is your barnyard facility located uphill from a water supply system?
3. Is your barnyard runoff allowed to flow freely without a collection system?
4. Do you scrape your barnyard less than once per month?
5. Do you have less than 25% vegetative groundcover on earthen exercise lots?
6. Are your barnyard and exercise areas frequently muddy?

If you answered “yes” or “don’t know” to any of the questions in this section, refer to the worksheet titled, “ Barnyard Conditions and Management.” This worksheet contains valuable information that can be used to develop an action plan for reducing the risk of contamination to groundwater and surface water supplies. If you answered “no” to the questions, proceed to the next section.

V. Evaluating Milkhouse Wastewater Management

YesDon't KnowNo
1. Do you have milk cows and milking facilities on your farmstead?
2. Does your settling tank have a concrete, plastic or clay liner?
3. Is it more than one year between cleanings of your settling tank?
4. Do you apply your milkhouse wastewater to an above-ground or below-ground absorption field?
5. Is the wastewater discharge absorption area located within 150 feet of your water supply system?

If you answered “yes” or “don’t know” to any of the questions in this section, refer to the worksheet titled, “ Milkhouse Wastewater Management.” This worksheet contains valuable information that can be used to develop an action plan for reducing the risk of contamination to groundwater and surface water supplies. If you answered “no” to the questions, proceed to the next section.

VI. Evaluating Your Stream and Drainageway Management

YesDon't KnowNo
1. Do you have a stream or drainageway flowing through your farmstead?
2. Is your vegetated buffer strip (forested and/or grass) less than 50 feet wide on both sides of the stream?
3. Do your livestock have access to the stream or drainageway?
4. Is less than 50% of the stream shaded by overstory vegetation?
5. Has the stream channel been altered or dredged?

If you answered “yes” or “don’t know” to any of the questions in this section, refer to the worksheet titled, “ Streams and Drainageway Management.” This worksheet contains valuable information that can be used to develop an action plan for reducing the risk of contamination to surface water supplies. If you answered “no” to the questions, complete the appropriate Farm-A-Syst worksheets that were indicated by this Preliminary Screening Quiz.

Information derived from Pennsylvania Farm-A-Syst worksheets is intended only to provide general information and recommendations to farmers regarding their own farmstead practices. It is not the intent of this educational program to keep records of individual results. However, they may be shared with others who will help you develop a resource management plan.