Division of Water
Groundwater Awareness Week Begins March 13
FRANKFORT, Ky. (March 10, 2006) - National Groundwater Awareness Week, an occasion for considering what groundwater means to our communities, to each of us as individuals and how we go about protecting this vital resource, will be observed March 13-17.
Groundwater is the water from rain or melting snow that soaks into the ground to fill cracks and cavities in soils and rocks.
More than 1.9 million Kentuckians rely on groundwater for drinking water. Of those, 1.5 million are served by 185 public water systems that are supplied in whole or in part by groundwater. The rest – an estimated 415,950 rural Kentuckians not connected to public water systems – get their drinking water form private wells or springs
Potable groundwater occurs naturally throughout Kentucky, though quantities available for use vary according to regional geology. Groundwater quality in Kentucky is generally good. However, water quality is directly related to land use, geology, groundwater sensitivity and well construction.
As groundwater moves through the soils, it picks up various minerals but also pollutants. Since everything that goes on the land eventually winds up in the water, we need to be mindful of what we put on or in the ground. Activities with the potential to contaminate groundwater include:
- Failing and improper use of septic tanks
- Leaking underground and above-ground storage tanks
- Excessive fertilizer application
- Leaching nitrates from animal feeding operations and other agriculture
- Improper disposal of hazardous substances
- Over-pumping of aquifers
- Old, improperly designed landfills
- Illegal disposal of trash and animal remains, especially in sinkholes.
Kentucky has three major programs to help protect groundwater:
- The Groundwater Protection Plan program requires development and implementation of a protection plan by anyone conducting activities that have the potential to pollute groundwater. Each plan is to include pollution prevention measures. This is a good time to ensure your activities have an adequate Groundwater Protection Plan and you are implementing it.
- The Wellhead Protection Program requires public water supplies that rely on groundwater to delineate the recharge area of the well or spring from which it draws its water, identify potential contaminant sources in this area and implement groundwater protection strategies for these areas.
- In addition, to help protect private water wells, the Groundwater Branch regulates the construction of water wells through the Drillers Certification Program, which requires certification of water well contractors and enforces regulatory standards for water well construction. This is also a good time to do an annual checkup and maintenance of your well.
Find out about groundwater in Kentucky, well maintenance, groundwater protection plans, wellhead protection and more at http://www.water.ky.gov/gw/GWB-GW_awareness.htm.
Find more about Groundwater Awareness Week and things you can do to help protect groundwater at http://www.gwpc.org/.