What Causes Groundwater Contamination

Groundwater professionals

Groundwater contamination is a very serious issue as it can have very serious health consequences. Illnesses like hepatitis and dysentery can come from septic tank waste contamination. The toxins that can get into the well water can actually be poisonous. Another problem with groundwater contamination is that wildlife can be harmed by drinking it. There are several possible sources of groundwater contamination.

  1. Storage Tanks
    A lot of oil and chemicals and gasoline and other types of liquid are contained in storage tanks sometimes above and sometimes below ground. There are approximately 10 million storage tanks all over the United States. The problem with these tanks is that with time they can begin to corrode and crack and eventually develop leaks. Once the contaminated water gets out and into the groundwater, serious problems can occur.

  2. Septic Systems
    Septic Systems are often used by homes office and buildings that are not connected to the city’s sewer system for one reason or another. While septic systems are made to slowly drain human waste underground, improper design or location can cause bacteria and viruses to leak. Even household chemicals that have been deposited into the systems can cause serious groundwater pollution issues.

  3. Hazardous Waste
    Hazardous waste sites are a good idea for the most part but the problem is that they become uncontrolled and end up leaking into ground water. There are over 20,000 known hazardous waste sites that have been abandoned and are considered uncontrolled in the United States alone. And these are just the ones that are known about. Any kind of leak or breakage in the barrels full of contaminants is what can run into groundwater causing contamination to our drinking water lines.

  4. Landfills
    This is where they take are garbage and trash and bury it. Most landfills have a layer at the bottom that protects any contaminants from getting in to the soil and later the water but these layers are not very well maintained sometimes which means there can be cracks in the layer, leading to leakages into the soil beneath it which can make their way into the groundwater as well. This is anything from battery acid to pain to household cleaning chemicals- all of which are very difficult to separate from water once mixed in.

  5. Chemicals and Road Salts
    What we put on our roads is something we don’t think about much. Certain chemicals and salts are used to clear the streets and make them safe to drive on. We also can tend to use chemicals for killing weeds or fertilizing lawns and plants. The problem with this is that the run off from these salts and chemicals get washed off the roads and down the storm drains which leads out to the water, especially in the winter time when there is snow run off and more rain to sweep these chemicals along into the water sources.

  6. Atmospheric Toxins
    Groundwater is actually about of the hydrologic cycle and so the contaminants from other parts of the cycle can end up filtering into the groundwater supplies and contamination the water just as much as anything else.

Although it would take a lot of labor and man power, it is possible to fix these situations that cause groundwater contamination with groundwater remediation equipment. However, on a day to day basis, if we do things like avoid throwing out chemicals in the regular trash or using fertilizers, we can actually minimize the amount that our groundwater becomes contaminated. Here are just a few things you can do:

  1. Correctly dispose of cleaning chemicals in safe hazardous waste zones.
  2. Better yet, switch to organic cleaners.
  3. Minimize the use of fertilizer.
  4. Do not dispose of anything other than human waste down the toilet.
  5. Do not pour oil, greases or fats down the drain.
  6. Recycle plastic, gas and other materials properly.

These are just a few simple things that you can do to help out our groundwater contamination situation on a daily basis. They are not difficult once you get into the habit of following them and can really help out a lot. If everyone were to do just a little bit, we may not have the issues that we have today regarding illness and disease. Drinking water is very important in order to help our bodies to function properly and if it is contamination, it defeats the purpose. Learn more at this link.

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