Division of Water
Governor urges citizens to protect groundwater
Governor Steven Beshear has proclaimed Sept. 11 as “Protect Your Groundwater Day” in the Commonwealth of Kentucky to draw attention to the importance of preventing contamination and waste of this valuable resource.
Individuals can take action to protect groundwater by recognizing the causes of preventable groundwater contamination, advised Sandy Gruzesky, director of the Kentucky Division of Water, which is charged with protecting the Commonwealth’s groundwater resources.
“More than 900,000 people in Kentucky draw all or part of their domestic-use water from groundwater supplies and use more than 200 million gallons a day,” said Gruzesky. “It is important that we learn how to protect our groundwater.”
Most household water use occurs in a few areas around the home where potentially hazardous substances such as fertilizers and pesticides are often used. Homeowners with a water well should ensure wellheads are a safe distance from possible contamination. They should also contact a professional water well specialist to schedule annual well system inspections and to properly decommission any abandoned wells. An improperly sealed well can be a direct pathway for contamination into an aquifer. Nothing should ever be disposed of down an abandoned water well.
Septic system malfunctions also can pollute groundwater. Septic systems should be checked every one to two years, and pumped every three to five years by a professional contractor. Also, roof drains, sump pump drains and other rain or surface water drainage systems should be kept away from the septic absorption field. Flooding can keep the soil from naturally cleansing the waste water.
Everyone should properly use, store and dispose of hazardous household substances, including gasoline, oil, paint, paint thinner, fertilizer, weed killer, pesticides and cleaning products. Proper use of such substances means following the manufacturer’s instructions. Fertilizers, pesticides and weed killers should not be over-applied, nor should any such substances be mixed or applied near wellheads. Proper storage means keeping hazardous household substances in sealed containers in a secure place. Proper disposal of such substances means they should not be dumped on the ground, poured down drains or flushed down toilets. Homeowners should contact local waste authorities about proper disposal.
For more information about groundwater and groundwater protection, visit the Division of Water at http://water.ky.gov/groundwater/Pages/default.aspx and the National Ground Water Association at www.ngwa.org.