March 11-17th is National Ground Water Awareness Week sponsored by the National Ground Water Association. The purpose of this observance is to acknowledge how essential ground water is to our well-being and to stress the importance of protecting ground water sources from contamination.
Ground water contamination is most often the result of human activities, such as incorrect use of fertilizers and pesticides; poorly sited, constructed or maintained septic systems; improper disposal or storage of wastes; and chemical spills at industrial sites.
Seventy-eight percent of public water systems in the U.S. rely on ground water sources for drinking water. This translates to nearly 90 million people. To protect the quality of ground water, the U.S. EPA has developed the Ground Water Rule which provides increased protection from microbial pathogens. The EPA has also established maximum concentration levels for several water pollutants.
Another 15 million households in the U.S. have private water wells, which are not subject to EPA regulations. Private well owners are responsible for the integrity of their ground water. The National Ground Water Association and WellOwner.org provide many resources for well owners and helpful information for maintaining clean ground water.