Does your child drink water from a private well?

If so, then you’re invited to a paid study!

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WHO: Children 6 months to 3 years old

WHAT: A one-year study on water quality and health

WHERE: Berks, Bucks, Chester, Lancaster, Lehigh, Montgomery counties

WHY: To provide a free water treatment system (estimated value: $1,000) for your family and learn how treatment can reduce illness in children

To RSVP:

Find out if you’re eligible by taking our eligibility survey (usually takes 5-10 minutes):
Take the survey

-OR-

Request a call with our research team to learn more and sign up:

Not eligible but still want to help?

We currently have a referral program open to everyone. For the first family you successfully enroll, you get a $40 gift card. Then, a $20 gift card for every family after that. Just let them know to mention your name and email when they take the eligibility survey.

WET Trial Information

What is the WET Trial?

The WET Trial is a well water and children’s health study conducted by researchers at Temple University’s College of Public Health. It is funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and is currently recruiting families in southeastern Pennsylvania. “WET” is short for “Wells and Enteric disease Transmission.” Enteric diseases are gastrointestinal illnesses caused by bacteria, viruses, and parasites.

What is the purpose of this trial? 

The purpose of this trial is to understand if drinking well water can cause illness in children that can include symptoms of diarrhea, cough, and/or fever. We want to know if treating well water can prevent these illnesses.

Why private wells?

In Pennsylvania, about 3 million people use a private well (not a city or community water supply). Well water can contain germs that cause diarrhea and other illnesses. These germs include: Cryptosporidium, Giardia, norovirus, adenovirus, enterovirus, Salmonella, Campylobacter, and pathogenic E. coli.

Why children three years old or younger? 

Illnesses with diarrhea, cough, and or/fever are more common and are a major health problem in young children. Children may benefit the most from drinking water that is treated by an Ultraviolet (UV) device. This may lead to fewer sick days, doctor visits, hospitalizations, and missed workdays for parents.

Why an Ultraviolet (UV) device?

UV light (like from sunlight) is known to be safe and effective for treating germs found in water. Water utilities have been successfully using large UV devices to make water safer for decades.

How will the WET Trial benefit my family?

Everyone benefits from a healthy drinking water supply. Your participation will help us understand how drinking water from a private well can cause people to be ill. It will also help us understand how UV treatment systems protect against these illnesses.

At the end of the study, all participating homes will have a functional whole-home UV treatment device that provides safer drinking water. The device and installation are worth a value of about $1,000.

You will receive two $20 gift cards, one halfway and one at the end. For each submission of stool/saliva samples, you will receive an additional $10 gift card (up to 4 times). For timely responses to text messages and illness questionnaires, participants will be entered in a raffle. The raffle winner will receive a weekend trip to either Hershey Park or Dutch Wonderland for a family of 4 ($2,000 value).

What are the researchers doing? 

We are performing a randomized controlled trial. We will randomly assign each family to two groups. Half of the homes will receive a functioning UV device that disinfects water for the whole home. The second half receives an identical device that has been inactivated.

We will follow the children for one year, recording the number and types of illnesses for the two groups. At the end of the trial, the devices from the second half will be activated. Both groups will have a functioning device at the end of the trial. The devices will be installed by plumbers at no cost to the households. Randomized controlled trials are the best way to find out if there is a cause-effect relationship between the intervention (UV treatment) and the outcome (preventing child illnesses).

What will my family and I have to do?

  • Your child will continue to drink the water just as they did before the beginning of the study
  • Allow for UV device installation in your home (about 2 hours; someone will need to be home)
  • Respond to weekly text messages for one year asking if your child has been sick
  • When your child is sick, answer survey questions
  • Up to 4 times a year, send stool samples using supplied collection kits and mailing labels
  • Collect a saliva swab sample every month and mail these in with the stool samples
  • Up to 3 times a year, allow researchers to collect water and check on the device

Why collect stool, saliva, and water samples? 

We are looking for germs in water that are known to cause illness. We will also look for evidence of infection in your child’s stool and saliva. Sometimes people carry germs even when they do not feel sick.

Who is eligible to be in this study?

Families that use a private well for drinking water and have a child three years old or younger in Berks, Bucks, Chester, Lancaster, Lehigh, or Montgomery counties.

Why did you pick my community?

We have selected your community because there are many private wells and families with children three years old or younger.

What if I choose not to participate?

There is no penalty if you decide not to participate.

More questions? 

Check out our FAQ page. Or contact us using our information below. 

For more information

Phone: (215)204-5124

Email: wettrial@temple.edu

Facebook: @WHAMLAB

Twitter: @WHAMLAB 

Meet our study team