Simple Steps Key to Groundwater Protection at Household Level



There is something every person can do to protect groundwater, and it begins at home, according to the Ground Water Protection Council and the National Ground Water Association.

Here is an inventory you can take during National Ground Water Awareness Week (March 8-14) to start becoming a good groundwater steward.

First, locate any abandoned wells on your property. Contact a qualified water well system contractor to determine whether the abandoned well is sealed properly. An improperly sealed well can be a direct pathway for contamination into the aquifer. Never dispose of any substance down an abandoned well.

If the abandoned well has not been properly sealed, always use a qualified water well system contractor to seal it. This requires special techniques, equipment, and materials.

Second, if you have a septic system, maintain it. A failing septic system may present a contamination threat to the groundwater. Septic systems should be checked every one to two years, and pumped every three to five years by a professional contractor.

Also, keep roof drains, sump pump drains, and other rain or surface water drainage systems away from the septic absorption field. Flooding can keep the soil from naturally cleansing the waste water.

Third, properly use, store, and dispose of hazardous household substances. Hazardous household substances include, but are not limited to: Proper use means always following the manufacturer’s instructions. Do not over apply fertilizers, pesticides, and weed killers. Also, do not apply or mix such substances close to the well head.

Proper storage of hazardous household substances means keeping them in sealed containers in a secure place.

Proper disposal of hazardous household substances means do not dump them on the ground, or pour them down the drain, or flush them down the toilet. Instead, contact local waste authorities about proper disposal.

Related web sites include:
the National Ground Water Association at www.ngwa.org
the Ground Water Protection Council at www.gwpc.org
the Groundwater Foundation at http://www.groundwater.org/



Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality
1200 "N" Street, Suite 400
P.O. Box 98922
Lincoln, Nebraska 68509
(402) 471-2186