FAQs About Ground Water
Next to the air we breathe, water is the most important resource on Earth. Seventy percent of the Earth’s surface is covered by water, but only three percent is suitable for drinking. This drinking water includes ground water. Many Jacksonville residents utilize well water and have concerns about the quality of their water. A selection of frequently asked questions and answers regarding ground or well water are listed below.
Frequently Asked Questions About Ground & Well Water
- What is ground or well water? – Ground water is a natural resource found below the Earth’s surface, and it comes from rain and melted snow that seeps beneath the ground into a collection area called an aquifer. Approximately half of the United States depends on ground water for its drinking water, and this water is supplied by local water treatment plants. The other half of the US depends on private water wells and use ground water as the source of drinking water.
- How can our ground water become polluted? – Ground, or well, water is a natural solvent and dissolves any dissolvable material that it comes into contact with. This reaction results in ground water pollution because contaminants dissolve into the water while it’s rain, sleet, snow, or hail.
- What are the sources of ground water pollution? – The two main sources of ground water pollution include natural sources such as magnesium, iron, calcium, and chlorides and man-made sources such as herbicides, pesticides, fertilizers, and improperly installed septic systems.
- What are some natural sources of ground water pollution? – Microorganisms are usually found in water coming from shallow wells, especially in areas with high water tables. These locations often have a higher risk of infested water supplies. Symptoms of illnesses from microorganisms include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, and they resemble those of food poisoning. Microorganisms found in ground water include viruses, bacteria, and parasites. Nitrates and nitrites are also present, and they form when nitrogen compounds break down in the soil. They are then transported into the water below the ground. These compounds are especially harmful to infants. Heavy metals such as cadmium, arsenic, lead, selenium, and chromium are found in underground rock and soil at low levels. If large amounts are present, they negatively affect the health of children and infants. Fluoride, commonly used in dentistry for cavity prevention, is often added to water supplies, but too much fluoride can damage bone tissues and discolor teeth.
- What are some man-made sources of ground water pollution? – Man-made sources of ground water pollution include the following:
- Nitrates and bacteria that come from fertilizers, leaking septic tanks, landfills, garbage dumps, and human and animal waste
- Lead-based plumbing that leaches into the drinking water, presenting a risk for damage to red-blood cells, nervous systems, kidneys, and brains in humans
- Heavy metals that come from mining, construction, and outdated pesticides
- House waste from improper waste disposal or leaking septic systems
- Pesticides and fertilizers
- Copper plumbing
- Should I be concerned about my water? – The EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Act doesn’t protect private wells, and only water supplies that serve at least 25 people or 15 or more service connections are monitored. However, the EPA recommends annual water tests for nitrates, nitrites, bacteria, and E. coli for private well owners.
- Should I expect a certain amount of risk? – The chance of having ground water complications depends on many factors, including the installation, condition, and location of your well as well as the quality of the water.
- Is there anything I should do?
- If you’re building, closing, or modifying a well, you should hire a certified well driller for new wells or modifications, form a slope for water runoff around the well to prevent standing water, hire a certified well driller to fill and seal a closed well, protect water well supply by installing a locking well cap or seal cap, perform recommended service and inspection on the pump and well, and avoid using chemicals in or near the well.
- To keep your well maintained properly, keep well maintenance records and water testing results in a safe area and hire professionals to perform annual water testing and inspect your well every month for a missing well cap, corrosion, cracking, or old seals.
- If your well floods, keep at a safe distance because of the electrical hazard, and hire a certified well contractor to sanitize the well and perform water testing services.