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Announcements: Ground Water Awareness Week --- March 7--13, 2010

National Ground Water Awareness Week, sponsored annually by the National Ground Water Association (NGWA), is March 7--13, 2010. The majority of public water systems in the United States use groundwater as their primary source to provide drinking water to an estimated 90 million persons (1). An additional 15 million U.S. homes use private wells, which also rely on groundwater (2).

Owners of private wells are responsible for ensuring that their well water is safe from harmful groundwater contaminants. These contaminants can occur naturally, but are usually the result of local land use practices (e.g., fertilizer and pesticide use), manufacturing processes, and leakage from nearby septic systems. The presence of contaminants in drinking water can lead to illness, disease, and other health problems (3).

NGWA uses this week to stress the importance of yearly water testing and well maintenance (4). Private well owners can take simple steps to reduce well water contamination risks. These precautions include ensuring that the well is located away from potential contamination sources (e.g., septic and waste-water systems, animal enclosures, and chemical storage areas) and conducting an annual maintenance check of the well (5,6).

Additional information about Ground Water Awareness Week, well maintenance, water testing, and well water treatment is available from CDC at http://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/drinking/private/wells/index.html, from the Environmental Protection Agency at http://www.epa.gov/safewater/privatewells/whatyoucando.html, and from NGWA at http://www.wellowner.org.

References

  1. Environmental Protection Agency. Factoids: drinking water and ground water statistics for 2009. Washington, DC: Environmental Protection Agency; 2010. Available at http://www.epa.gov/safewater/databases/pdfs/data_factoids_2009.pdf. Accessed February 24, 2010.
  2. Census Bureau. Current housing reports, series H150/07, American housing survey for the United States: 2007. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office; 2008. Available at http://www.census.gov/prod/2008pubs/h150-07.pdf. Accessed February 24, 2010.
  3. Environmental Protection Agency. Drinking water contaminants. Washington, DC: Environmental Protection Agency; 2010. Available at http://www.epa.gov/safewater/contaminants/index.html. Accessed February 24, 2010.
  4. National Ground Water Association. National Ground Water Awareness Week: March 7--13, 2010. Westerville, OH: National Ground Water Association. Available at http://www.ngwa.org/public/awarenessweek/index.aspx. Accessed February 23, 2010.
  5. Environmental Protection Agency. Private drinking water wells: basic information. Washington, DC: Environmental Protection Agency; 2010. Available at http://www.epa.gov/safewater/privatewells/basicinformation.html. Accessed February 24, 2010.
  6. National Ground Water Association. Well maintenance: homeowner's checklist. Westerville, OH: National Ground Water Association; 2009. Available at http://www.wellowner.org. Accessed February 23, 2010.


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