You may have heard it mentioned on the news or seen it written in an article before, but most people aren’t familiar with the term groundwater remediation. The process of removing pollution and contaminants from groundwater aquifers is called remediation. A large number of Canadians rely on groundwater for their basic needs, from drinking and cleaning water to irrigation and livestock watering. Even people who don’t require groundwater for domestic use can be affected when contaminated groundwater seeps into other fresh water sources like lakes, streams and wetlands. Since groundwater pollution is an issue that affects everyone, it’s essential to understand how water remediation works and when it works.
How Does Groundwater Get Polluted?
The first step in understanding the purpose of water remediation is learning all the ways water can become contaminated. While individuals can end up with polluted wells by installing them improperly, placing them too close to sewers, livestock or other hazardous conditions or failing to properly test and analyze the water, most water becomes contaminated thanks to agricultural and municipal operations. Chemicals from pesticides and fertilizers, septic tanks and landfills, to name just a few, seep into the soil and down to the aquifer below. Other causes include saltwater intrusion, when salt water mixes with the fresh water in aquifers, and acid rain that results from evaporating contaminated above ground fresh water sources like lakes and rivers. There are lots of ways to pollute groundwater but not many ways to clean it up effectively.
How Do You Remove Groundwater Pollution?
The purpose of groundwater remediation is simple: to make the water fit for human consumption and use. Groundwater remediation not only removes contaminants from water, but it also disposes of the removed residue in a manner that minimizes the negative impact on the environment. There are basically two ways of removing contaminants from the water: on-site and off-site. Also known as in-situ, on-site remediation cleans the water where it is currently located. This tends to be a more affordable option. Off-site, or ex-situ, remediation, as suggested, requires collecting all the water and relocating it for clean up. While this is more expensive, it ensures that there are no remaining contaminants left behind to negatively affect the environment.
Regardless of whether on-site or off-site remediation is used, the water is either heated to destroy bacteria or it is filtered to remove offending pollutants and may additionally require a combination of natural elements or chemicals to further cleanse the water. More often than not, several rounds of filtering and cleaning are necessary. Once the water tests clean the process is complete.
What Are the Best Groundwater Remediation Programs?
There are a variety of options for individuals requiring remediation services in Canada and more locally in Ontario. Often companies seek out groundwater remediation programs before breaking ground, if they discover contamination at a build site or after they close down a factory or business.
While removing pollution from groundwater can be an expensive and difficult process, it’s important to understand how it works and why it must be done. Ideally, humanity will take great pains to limit risk of groundwater contamination but in the meantime, groundwater remediation can help protect people and the environment from potentially hazardous conditions.