Tuesday, September 11, 2012
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Protect Your Groundwater Day is Sept. 11

Protecting groundwater protects public health, the environment

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[September 11, 2012]  SPRINGFIELD -- The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency encourages the public to protect public health and the health of the environment by protecting groundwater. This is Protect Your Groundwater Day, Sept. 11.

In the United States, 88 million Americans rely on groundwater-supplied community water systems, while another 42 million Americans rely on individual household water wells.

For household water well owners, how they manage their well systems and property can make a difference in their water quality. People who do not use household wells also can make a difference in groundwater quality, for instance, by how they store, use and dispose of hazardous household substances or how well they maintain their septic systems.

Additionally, with drought gripping the nation, protecting groundwater through conservation is more important than ever. From the southwest to the southeast and from the Great Plains to the Midwest, drought has put a strain on many household water wells -- sometimes resulting in a reduction or loss of water flow as the water table drops. Abnormally dry or drought conditions are even affecting Alaska, Hawaii and parts of New England.

Protect Your Groundwater Day is an occasion for every citizen to act: Acknowledge the issue, consider how it applies to you, then take action. Here are some steps individuals can take, courtesy of the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and the National Ground Water Association:

Acknowledge the causes of preventable groundwater contamination

Consider what applies to you:


  • There are hazardous substances common to households. What specific hazardous substances are in and around your home?

  • Most household water use occurs in a few areas around the home. Where do you and your family use the most water?

If you own a water well:

  • Wellheads should be a safe distance from potential contamination. Is your wellhead a safe distance from possible contamination?

  • Poorly constructed or maintained wells can facilitate contamination. Septic system malfunctions can pollute groundwater. Is your well or septic system due for an inspection?

  • Improperly abandoned wells can lead to groundwater contamination. Are there any abandoned wells on your property?

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Take action to prevent groundwater contamination


  • When it comes to water conservation:

    • Modify your water use.

    • Install a water-saving device.

  • When it comes to hazardous household substances:

    • Store them properly in a secure place.

    • Use them according to the manufacturer's recommendations.

    • Dispose of them safely.

If you own a water well:

  • Move possible contamination sources a safe distance from the wellhead.

  • Get current on your septic system inspection and cleaning.

  • Get an annual water well system inspection.

[Text from Illinois Environmental Protection Agency file received from the Illinois Office of Communication and Information]


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