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Announcements: Ground Water Awareness Week --- March 6--12, 2011

CDC is collaborating with the National Ground Water Association (NGWA) to highlight National Ground Water Awareness Week, March 6--12, 2011. The majority of public water systems in the United States use ground water as their primary source, providing drinking water to nearly 90 million persons (1). An additional 16 million U.S. homes use private wells, which also rely on ground water (2). NGWA uses this week to stress ground water's importance to the health and well being of humans and the environment (3).

Most of the time, ground water sources in the United States are safe to use and not a cause for concern. However, ground water sources sometimes can be contaminated. Contaminants can occur naturally in the environment or they might be the result of local land use practices (e.g., use of fertilizers and pesticides), manufacturing processes, and problems with nearby septic systems. The presence of contaminants in drinking water can lead to illness and disease (4).

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has worked with individual states to develop new regulations to protect ground water that provides the source for public water systems (5). However, private ground water wells (i.e., those serving fewer than 25 persons) must be properly maintained by well owners to ensure the water remains free from harmful chemicals and pathogens. Additional information is available at http://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/drinking/private/wells/index.html. State and local health departments also have resources available to help homeowners protect ground water.

References

  1. US Environmental Protection Agency. FACTOIDS: drinking water and ground water statistics for 2009. Washington, DC: US Environmental Protection Agency; 2009. Available at http://www.epa.gov/ogwdw/databases/pdfs/data_factoids_2009.pdf. Accessed February 22, 2011.
  2. US Census Bureau. American housing survey for the United States: 2007. Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office; 2008. Available at http://www.census.gov/prod/2008pubs/h150-07.pdf. Accessed February 22, 2011.
  3. National Ground Water Association. National Ground Water Awareness Week: March 6--12, 2011. Westerville, OH: National Ground Water Association; 2011. Available at http://www.ngwa.org/public/awarenessweek/index.aspx. Accessed February 22, 2011.
  4. US Environmental Protection Agency. Drinking water contaminants. Washington, DC: US Environmental Protection Agency; 2011. Available at http://www.epa.gov/safewater/contaminants/index.html. Accessed February 22, 2011.
  5. US Environmental Protection Agency. Ground Water Rule (GWR). Washington, DC: US Environmental Protection Agency; 2009. Available at http://water.epa.gov/lawsregs/rulesregs/sdwa/gwr/index.cfm. Accessed February 22, 2011.


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