March 11th -17th Is National Groundwater Awareness WeekMarch 9th, 2012 by Craig Mullins
“Groundwater is important to you!”
Thus is the core message of National Groundwater Week.
First organized by the National Ground Water Association over a decade ago, National Groundwater Awareness Week is dedicated to educating the public about one of the world’s most important resources – groundwater.
Groundwater is comprised of the water that flows underground through pore spaces between cracks in rock, gravel, sand, and aquifers (wet underground layers of water-bearing permeable rock or unconsolidated materials from which groundwater can be gathered using a water well). Groundwater that travels through the earth’s surface contributes to the water supply that is used for agriculture and drinking water, as well as feeding our lakes, rivers and streams.
Fact: About 96% of all public drinking water systems use groundwater to supply people with drinking water.
Fact: Millions of Americans rely on groundwater from aquifers to supply private wells.
An easy way for people to help protect our world’s groundwater is to be extra diligent when disposing of agricultural products and hazardous household materials. Those of us with water wells and septic systems must be sure to regularly maintain our equipment and systems, and properly shut them down when we are no longer using them.
“Groundwater remains critically important, whether you’re on a public water system or a private well,” said American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman. “Everyone can play a role in preserving and protecting our nation’s precious groundwater.”
“This is more than just a rural issue. Public water systems and heavily populated urban areas can do much to harm groundwater quality,” Stallman said. “We all need to do our part to protect groundwater.”
Contaminated groundwater is especially worrisome in areas where marijuana is grown and produced, and has become a much larger issue in the past few years; especially in California where it’s sorta legal to grow. If not disposed of properly, certain fertilizers used in the marijuana growing process have the potential to seriously harm the groundwater, thus seriously harming the people and animals ingesting it.
Marijuana cultivation is harmful to more than just the groundwater. Because growing marijuana is not legal everywhere, many growers use public land, like that of National Parks, to grow their plants. This leaves the land and wildlife around the marijuana vulnerable to disease and death brought about by fertilizers and chemicals.
According to one source, for every acre of marijuana that is grown, 10 acres of land is damaged by the chemicals and fertilizers used; the same source states that for every 11 ½ marijuana plants that are grown, about 1 ½ pounds of pesticides are used.
On December 1st, 2009, The Groundwater Rule (GWR) took effect, and applies to all public water systems that use groundwater sources or purchase groundwater. The main purpose of the Rule is to “protect the public from fecal-related bacterial and viral pathogens in public groundwater systems.”
As part of The Groundwater Rule, if a groundwater source (spring or well) is found to be contaminated – using E. coli as the indicator – the pubic water system must take the proper corrective measures to assure that consumers are sufficiently protected.
Whether or not you’re using fertilizers, pesticides, or other chemicals on your property, it’s a good idea to put your spring or well water through proper water testing with a reputable company in your local area.
If you need well repair in Valley Springs check out Canepa and Sons.
While you’re learning about the importance of groundwater this National Groundwater Awareness Week, take some time to learn what’s in the water coming out of your faucets. Knowing what it’s in your water – and thus, knowing what’s going into your body – is really important when it comes to your overall health. The life you save with a simple water test could be yours!