Groundwater flows slowly underground between sand, gravel, pores and
between cracks in rock in formations called aquifers. These aquifers
feed our lakes and streams, are used for agriculture, and most
important, provide the drinking water we need for survival.
Groundwater can become vulnerable to contamination from above-ground
surface contaminants if proper measures are not in place.
are several ways for all of us to protect our groundwater. First,
store and properly dispose of hazardous household substances to
prevent direct contact with the ground surface. Secondly, if you are
not served by a public sewer, properly maintain your on-site septic
system to prevent improperly treated waste from entering into the
groundwater supply. Third, properly seal unused wells, since
abandoned wells can provide a direct route for contaminants to enter
the groundwater supply. Prior to having a well sealed, contact your
local health department for information concerning regulations.
There are an estimated 400,000 water wells serving the household
needs of over approximately 1.3 million people in Illinois. If you
rely on your own water well, it is important to properly maintain
the well and well site to prevent groundwater contamination.
First, make sure sources of contamination (i.e., chemicals,
livestock, septic systems) are located far enough from your well by
establishing a safety zone. This setback may commonly range from 50
feet to over 200 feet, depending on the type or source of
contamination. The Illinois Water Well Construction Code has
established regulations for minimum setback distances, and your
local health department can provide you with this information.
Secondly, it is important to have your well routinely inspected
by a licensed water well contractor to ensure proper maintenance.
Defects such as a crack in the well cap or casing can provide a
direct route for surface contaminants to reach your drinking water
[to top of second column]
The water from public systems is regulated by the Illinois
Environmental Protection Agency and routinely monitored for
contaminant levels. Private well owners, on the other hand, must
manage their own water systems and take responsibility to ensure
their water is safe. Therefore, water well owners are encouraged to
have their water tested at least annually to monitor bacteria,
nitrates and other contaminants of local concern.
Well water test kits are available at the Logan County Department
of Public Health at a cost of $15. In addition, the health
department will provide free well water nitrate screenings
during the Lincoln Community Health Fair on March 31 at the Lincoln
Park District's SportsCenter. All you will need to bring is a sample
of your water. Additional information will also be available at the
The Logan County Department of Public Health asks for your
support in doing your part to protect our groundwater in recognition
of National Groundwater Awareness Week.
For more information, contact the Logan County Department of
Public Health at 217-735-2317.
Sources: Illinois Department of Public Health, Illinois
Association of Groundwater Professionals, U.S. Environmental
[Text from file received from
Logan County Department of Public