Master Well Owners Network: Training Volunteers to Safeguard Drinking Water

The MWON online course trains volunteers to teach about safe drinking water and the proper management of private water wells, springs, and cisterns.
Master Well Owners Network: Training Volunteers to Safeguard Drinking Water - Online Courses
Skill Level: Beginner, Intermediate
Length of Access: 90 days
Sections: 6
Length: 6 hours
Language: English
Note: Potential volunteers must complete an application before registering. This course contains content similar to the Private Wells and Water Systems Management course.

Starting at FREE

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Starting at FREE


More than three million rural Pennsylvania residents use a well, spring, or cistern as their primary water source. Pennsylvania does not regulate private water systems. Research has shown that more than 50 percent of these private water systems fail to meet at least one drinking water standard.

In 2004, Penn State Extension and several partner agencies created the Master Well Owners Network (MWON), which train s volunteers who are dedicated to promoting safe drinking water in Pennsylvania.

Through the use of videos and readings, this self-paced, asynchronous course will teach you how to determine the proper location for a well, how to assess potential pollution sources, what types of testing should be completed and how often, and possible treatment strategies.

At the end of each section, you will take a quiz. Once you pass all of the quizzes (cumulative) with a 70 percent or better, you will earn a certificate, allowing you to join the Master Well Owners Network.

As a volunteer, you must be willing to attempt to pass along basic private water system management knowledge that you learn during your training to approximately 50 or more private water system owners within two years after you are trained. This education can be done by personal conversations, presentations, newsletters, fairs, or other methods.

All volunteers must promise to submit at least one accomplishment report every year to the MWON c oordinator. This one - page report can be completed online or mailed to the c oordinator. It should only take a few minutes to complete but is vital to the success of our program.

The Master Well Owners Network course is available at no cost, given that you agree to complete the course and adhere to the guidelines of being a volunteer. A volunteer must not be employed by any company that provides paid services to private water supply owners (i.e. water testing companies, water treatment companies, water well drillers, etc.).

To register for this course at no cost and become a volunteer, fill out the MWON application.

Once the MWON coordinator receives and approves your application, he/she will contact you and provide you with a discount code for the course. Do not enroll in the course until after you fill out the application and receive an email from the coordinator.

Note: If would like to learn more about private water supplies, but do not plan to become a volunteer, please see the Private Wells and Water Systems Management course, which contains similar content but doesn't require you to become a volunteer.

Who is this for?
  • Anyone who wants to learn and educate others about the proper location, construction, and maintenance of water wells
  • Anyone who has a private water well, spring, or cistern
What will you learn?

You will learn how to:

  • identify different types of water supplies
  • distinguish between proper and potentially unsafe locations for wells, springs and cisterns
  • identify common groundwater problems
  • choose what type of water tests are appropriate for your water supply
  • determine the best course of action to solve water quantity and quality issues
  • join the Master Well Owners Network


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