What is Ground Water?

Ground water is the water that is found underground in the cracks of rocks and in the spaces between soil, sand and rocks. When it rains and when snow melts, the water moves down into the ground, traveling between these cracks and spaces. When the water reaches a point where all the cracks and spaces are full of water, this point is called the water table. The depth to the water table varies greatly by area and season. When we drill a well, the well must extend past the water table to insure that enough water is available to use in our daily lives.

Ground water is generally considered to be a safe source of water. As the water moves through the cracks and spaces between the soil, sand and rocks, contaminants and pollution that are mixed with the water get stuck in the small cracks and spaces while the water continues to move downward - just a little cleaner. The earth is acting as a giant filter! 

Ground Water Pollution

Ground water is one of our most valuable resources. It takes many years for water from the surface of the earth to make its way down into aquifers. While the soil, sand and rocks do make an efficient filter, many contaminants mix thoroughly with the water and are difficult to remove. Every state in the nation has reported cases of ground water contamination. Some common sources of ground water pollution are:

  • Leaking underground tanks that store gasoline and chemicals
  • Leachate from landfills
  • Too much fertilizer or pesticides applied on fields or lawns
  • Dumping, spilling or spreading gasoline, oil, road salts and chemicals on the ground and roads
  • Leaking and/or failing septic systems

Once pollution is deep underground and mixed with ground water, it is generally difficult and expensive to clean up. Sometimes the only option is to drill a new well.

Pollution Prevention

The best, easiest and least expensive ways to protect our ground water supplies are to prevent pollution and practice conservation in order to protect our ground water supplies from being contaminated in the first place.

Use local household hazardous waste facilities for disposal of unwanted household chemical products, such as painting supplies, solvents, etc. 

For more information about our local household hazardous waste facilities click here.