5 Ways to Prevent Groundwater Pollution: Do Your Part!
Do you worry a lot about the water you and your family are drinking?
Have you noticed the water in your city or county smelling or tasting strange sometimes?
Do you find that a home water filter doesn’t seem to be enough to keep the water clean where you live?
If so, this article can help. Here, you can learn how to prevent groundwater pollution in areas where it hasn’t set in badly yet, and how to reduce groundwater pollution if you already have a problem where you live. You’ll be introduced to the concept of groundwater pollution as well as some of its most common sources, and you’ll be better able to determine whether or not this is a problem in your area.
The control of groundwater pollution is very important to all of us, and the more we all learn about it, the better off we’ll be. We can all work together to make a difference, and when you follow the tips listed in this article, you’ll know you’re taking the first important steps toward doing just that.
Read on to learn 5 ways to prevent groundwater pollution, as well as some tips on how to cut back on it too.
What is Groundwater Pollution?
The word “groundwater” basically refers to any water that’s found underground. This means that if you can’t see it by just walking around and looking for it, it’s probably groundwater. Some groundwater sources can be found pretty close to the Earth’s surface, while others are buried deeply below the ground. You might think that this would keep groundwater pretty well protected, but unfortunately, that isn’t true.
Although we rely heavily on groundwater to supply us with fresh drinking water as it slowly moves into surface water sources, this is also the most polluted type of water on the planet. Anything found on land can eventually seep into groundwater sources and contaminate it. When those contaminants are also pollutants, this pollutes the water. Slowly, over time, groundwater moves into surface water sources and carries those pollutants along with it. And, eventually, that polluted water reaches our reservoirs and water treatment facilities, where it’s just a short step away from our homes.
Groundwater pollution is a huge problem that needs to be addressed. Unfortunately, many areas don’t do much to protect their groundwater, and the problem is only spreading. Cleaning up surface water pollution is a great start, but it won’t solve the underlying problem of groundwater pollution that threatens so much of the United States as well as the rest of the world.
Common Sources of Groundwater Pollution
There are a lot of different sources of groundwater pollution you might come across, and you might even have some in your own home or yard without ever realizing it. Unfortunately, just about anything that can potentially contaminate water can be a groundwater pollution source, especially in areas where those contaminants aren’t regulated or treated properly. The more you learn about these sources of pollution, the easier it will be for you to get involved and try to find a way to help prevent or at least de-escalate the problem where you live.
- Septic and sewage systems – These are some of the biggest problems when it comes to groundwater pollution. When septic or sewage systems are installed incorrectly or left too long without regular maintenance and upkeep, they can crack, leak, or come apart in such a way that human waste is allowed to enter into the surrounding soil. It doesn’t take long from there for it to find its way to groundwater, surface water, and drinking water. Unfortunately, this polluted water can often contain many diseases, bacteria, and parasites from the human waste it’s come into contact with.
- Landfills, construction sites, and chemicals at home – Anywhere chemicals are used for anything, whether to treat your yard or home for insects or to help build a new shopping center, the potential for groundwater pollution exists. Landfills are a huge problem in this regard, because they are full of items that were improperly disposed of and just sit there, letting chemicals seep into the ground around the landfill. In all of these instances, toxic runoff can also exist, which further increases the chance of groundwater pollution.
- Hazardous waste and power plants – Much like landfills and other chemical causes of groundwater pollution, hazardous waste sites and power plants contribute to the problem significantly. Where hazardous waste is stored or moved, there’s a huge chance for it to leak into groundwater sources nearby. And where power plants are located, radioactive waste often enters into the soil and pollutes the groundwater too.
- Agriculture and factories – Toxic runoff from factories and agricultural sites can lead to serious problems when it comes to groundwater. Both of these industries utilize a lot of chemicals, and agricultural also deals with pesticides and animal waste. When these substances aren’t handled properly, they can very easily contaminate groundwater.
How to Prevent Groundwater Pollution
So how can we stop groundwater pollution? Preventing groundwater pollution is essential to keep the problem from spreading any further than it already has. If you’re interested in trying to cut back on the risk of groundwater pollution where you live or even around the world, there are a few simple tips you can try out to help get started. Check out this list of five ways you can make a difference no matter where you are or what you happen to be doing.
1. At Home – Store and dispose of everything properly.
No matter what substances you might have at home, whether they seem like pretty harmless chemicals or something much stronger, always be sure you dispose of them properly and keep them safely stored at all times. Runoff caused by spills of these chemicals around the home can cause a lot of damage to groundwater, especially in residential areas. Improper disposal can also pollute groundwater and quickly reach drinking water sources too.
2. At Work – Implement more environmentally-friendly practices and substances.
It doesn’t matter what type of work you do—there’s always some way you can be more environmentally conscious while doing it. If your company doesn’t seem to be making any big changes, don’t be afraid to plan some things and introduce them on your own. Even if you just work in an office, you can always cut back on chemical cleaner use and implement recycling programs.
3. While Traveling – Choose modes of transportation that are better for the environment.
Air pollution goes hand in hand with groundwater pollution, and of course, modes of transportation increase air pollution significantly. When you travel, try to use transportation methods that reduce air pollution so as to help keep water cleaner, too. Opt for bicycles around town or on beaches, or choose public transportation if you have the option. You can also carpool with others to help cut down on the number of vehicles needed for a given trip.
4. In the Community – Talk to businesses and government representatives.
It can be a little daunting talking to the people in charge, but don’t give up! Whether you get your water from a city or county source, or even if you’re on your own well, you can find some way to talk to the people in positions of power where you live and encourage them to take better care of the groundwater in your area. You can also speak to companies and construction sites and encourage them to be more careful about runoff and chemical use in their day to day practices.
5. Around the World – Donate to causes that clean up water in developing countries.
Last but not least, there’s a lot you can do to make a difference in groundwater around the world, and you don’t even have to leave home to do it. While volunteering to help clean up the water in a developing country is a great step to take, it’s not possible for everyone. However, if you make a small donation now and then to organizations that are dedicated to cleaning up the groundwater for these countries, you can help make a difference in the lives of people half a world away. Groundwater pollution is a big problem at home, but it’s an even bigger issue abroad, and thinking globally can be a huge help to water sources everywhere.
Controlling Groundwater Pollution
Unfortunately, it’s true that in some instances, it’s impossible to prevent groundwater contamination. Sometimes groundwater is already so polluted in certain areas that trying to prevent this problem would be useless, and other times, the risk for pollution is simply too high to try to stop it. However, when this happens, you don’t have to lose hope completely. There’s still something you can do if you live in an area with heavily polluted groundwater pollution. Check out this list of a few tips to give you some ideas for how to help keep your groundwater as clean and safe as possible.
- Turn off water faucets when not in use. If you aren’t actively using water from your tap, the tap doesn’t need to be on! If you can get into the habit of turning off the water when you don’t need it, you’ll be able to conserve a lot of precious groundwater that has already been treated for home use. This can go a long way.
- Don’t use a lot of chemicals or bleach around the house. The more chemicals or bleach you use, the more likely it is for those chemicals to spill and reach groundwater supplies. You might also end up washing them down the drain, whether accidentally or on purpose, and further contaminate water supplies.
- Don’t let faucets drip or leak. While you’re making sure to turn off your faucets when you aren’t using them, check them for leaks too! A dripping faucet can use up a lot of groundwater over time, and it can also cost you a lot of money on your water bill. Help take care of both problems by ensuring you don’t have any leaks.
- Take shorter showers. Set a timer and limit yourself to five minutes in the shower to conserve groundwater. You’ll get used to it over time, and you’ll be able to come with a routine that lets you spend less time with the water running.
- Only wash the laundry when you have a full load. A full load of laundry helps your washer run better, and it also means you won’t be wasting a lot of water by washing several small loads in a week.
- Don’t use a garbage disposal. Using a disposal adds a lot of debris and garbage to the water supply since these substances are washed down the drain. They can lead to a buildup of bacteria in the water which can further contaminate groundwater sources.
Groundwater is vital to all of us. We all need fresh water to survive, and since groundwater is the source of a huge amount of our drinking water, it’s very important that we keep it well protected at all times. The more we all work together to improve the quality of our groundwater, the better off we’ll be. Even if you’re new to the idea of groundwater contamination and pollution, there’s plenty you can do to get involved when you follow the five steps listed in the article above.
There’s more you can do, too, if you’re interested in getting more deeply involved in fighting against water pollution in your hometown and around the world. The more you educate yourself and your neighbors about the issue, the better you’ll be able to make good decisions in terms of how you handle your garbage, how you dispose of waste, and how you help clean up your city. You might even get brave enough to talk to people in charge of companies and the government where you live and encourage them to enact more environmentally friendly groundwater practices.
No matter how you get involved, you can find something to do to make a difference. Get out there and get started today. You’ll be surprised at how much you can help change the future of groundwater!