About 27 trillion gallons of groundwater are used in the U.S. each year.
Irrigation uses 53.5 million gallons of water per day.
Public supply uses 14.5 million gallons per day.
More than 42 million people in the U.S. use individual or private wells.
Wells can easily be contaminated.

Toxic materials can be released into private wells from toxic spills or from materials being dumped near a well. The chemicals then seep into aquifers, contaminating the groundwater drawn from that well.

Potential Source of Groundwater Contamination:

  • Storage Tanks-  Tanks can corrode, crack, and begin to leak.
  • Septic Systems- Improperly designed, located, constructed, or maintained septic systems can leak bacteria, viruses, household chemicals, and other contaminants.
  • Uncontrolled Hazardous Waste- Barrels and other containers on hazardous waste sites can leak.
  • Landfills- Landfills are supposed to have a protective bottom layer to prevent groundwater contamination. Battery acid, paints, household cleaners, and other contaminants can leak if there is no layer or it is cracked.
  • Roads- Chemicals and road salts can run off the road during rain.

All private well construction is based location, sizing, and proper construction techniques. Wells can become contaminated if these construction guidelines are not met.

Prevent Well Water Pollution

  • Periodically inspect exposed parts of the well for problems such as:
    • Cracked, corroded or damaged well casing.
    • Broken or missing well cap.
    • Settling and cracking of surface seals.
    • The well should also be inspected every 10 years or so by a qualified well driller or pump installer.
  • Slope the area around the well to drain surface runoff away from the well.
  • Test the well water once a year for coliform bacteria, nitrates, and other contaminants.
  • Record well maintenance that may require the use of chemicals in the well such as disinfection or sediment removal.
  • Avoid mixing or using pesticides, fertilizers, herbicides, degreasers, fuels, and other pollutants near a well.
  • Never dispose of harsh chemicals, solvents, petroleum products, wastes, or pesticides in septic systems, or dry or abandoned wells.
  • Do not cut off the well casing below the land surface.
  • Pump and inspect septic systems as often as recommended by your local health department.
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