Hurricane Recovery in Texas and Florida

Lauren Buttling, a senior in environmental policy and planning, isolates E. coli samples from Texas well water samples in the pathogen ecology lab. (Photo courtesy: William Rhoads)



Our team is excited to announce that the National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a Rapid Response Research (RAPID) grant to Virginia Tech and collaborators to support urgent and time-sensitive research investigating unanticipated anthropogenic (i.e., human-caused) or natural disasters. Our grant is titled, “Potable Water Hazards and Resource Needs in Private Well Communities Impacted by Extreme Flooding Events.” Read the grant proposal in full below.

In the aftermath of hurricanes Harvey and Irma in Texas and Florida, we hypothesized that members of the private well community would have an urgent need for opportunities to test their water quality for bacterial contamination, information on how to properly disinfect their wells, and help implementing disinfection protocols. We have teamed up with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension and the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Science Extension to facilitate sample collection and communication of results.

This research grant is also aimed at developing communication strategies and informational resources for future severe flooding events, which we are doing in collaboration with the Louisiana State University-Health Science Center. All community engagement and communication is being done through Texas A&M and the University of Florida, using existing or developing new community-based infrastructure to communicate with, instruct, and receive feedback from the communities where we have been working.

Check out our preliminary microbial well water results from Florida and Texas.


For more information about flood-related testing opportunities 

  • — in Florida, please contact Andrea Albertin at or contact your local county extension office.
  • — in Texas, please visit or contact Drew Gholson at or contact your local county extension office.

News Coverage:

Free testing for private water well owners in Hurricane Harvey flood area
Virginia Tech team brings relief to well owners following hurricanes Harvey and Irma
VT Flint Water Team testing well water from Texas and Florida hurricane victims



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Virginia Tech contacts: Dr. William Rhoads / Dr. Kelsey Pieper

Page last updated on 10/24/2017