The theme for 2017 Protect your Groundwater Day is “Cap It, Plug It”. These are the 2 most important ways to protect groundwater quality, especially important if you are a well owner and rely on the water you pump from your well.
Any water well provides a direct route to the groundwater which you and/or your neighbors use for a drinking water supply. If any well remains open, contamination from the surface can be directly injected into the groundwater. This can be animal feces, which may contain e-coli, fertilizers, weed killers, insects, small animals or any other pollutants which may be accidentally spilled on the ground.
If you own a water well, the onus is on you to make sure the groundwater is properly protected. If it is an active well, it must be properly capped. This cap must be in good condition, incorporate a seal between itself and the well casing to prevent infiltration and be lockable to prevent tampering. In the event of a flood, the groundwater must be protected from the flood water which may carry foreign substances which can seriously impact the quality of the groundwater. Once the flood has receded, a qualified well contractor can ensure your well is safe to start using again and that the water presents no risk to health and well-being.
If you have a well on your property which is abandoned, you must ensure it is sealed properly. Even if you were unaware of its presence, once located sealing it is still your responsibility. You should check with your local health department to see what the requirements are to comply with any local by-laws. An abandoned well not sealed properly is a hazard not only to the groundwater quality, providing direct ingress to the aquifer, but also to small animals and even young children who have been known to fall into abandoned wells. A water well professional has specialized equipment and materials to do this properly and safely.
Not only well owners need to worry about the quality of the groundwater, many municipal water systems rely on groundwater for their supply of drinking water and any contamination impacts treatment costs.
Improper maintenance of septic systems and improper disposal of hazardous waste are two major sources of groundwater contamination caused by everyday human activity which are easily preventable with minimum effort.
On this Protect Your Groundwater day we would like everyone to ACT.
Acknowledge the causes of preventable groundwater contamination
Consider which apply to you
Take action to prevent groundwater contamination
Preservation and protection of our groundwater resources is of vital importance and everyone must do their part.