When most people turn on their faucets, they simply expect to see clear, fresh water pouring out. In many cases, people have no idea where their water is actually coming from – and they don’t care as long as they have it when they need it.
If you have ever been curious to learn more about your water, this week is for you. National Groundwater Awareness Week, which runs from March 5 through March 11, is the time to discover what you can do to help protect this invaluable resource – or protect yourself and your family if you learn your water is contaminated with hazardous substances.
The Importance of Groundwater
According to the National Groundwater Association (NGWA), roughly 44 percent of those living in the United States rely on groundwater for their drinking water, which increases to about 96 percent in rural areas. In fact, about 99 percent of all available freshwater on earth is groundwater.
Given our need for clean, dependable water sources, it can be extremely dangerous – or even deadly – when our groundwater supplies become contaminated.
Sources of Contamination
Sadly, there are many activities that can lead to groundwater contamination, some of which are common while others are downright illegal. For instance, improper disposal of household chemicals or industrial cleaners can result in contamination. Other sources of contamination include, but are certainly not limited to:
- MTBE (Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether) in drinking water, often caused by leaky petroleum storage tanks or pipelines
- Asbestos in groundwater
- Pesticides in groundwater
- Fertilizers in groundwater
If you suspect your groundwater is contaminated, the first thing you should do is contact the local health department authorities and have your water tested.
Are you interested in learning more about the dangers of water contamination, including more information about the sources of contamination listed above? If so, please read our blog all National Groundwater Awareness Week, as we will be publishing additional posts on these important issues.