Groundwater and Environmental Health
"Groundwater is the water found underground in the cracks and spaces in soil, sand and rock. It is stored in and moves slowly through geologic formations of soil, sand and rocks called aquifers." The Groundwater Foundation
According to estimates from the CDC, over 103 million Americans get their drinking water from groundwater sources. For some people that source is tapped by their local water district and is part of a larger water distribution system. For others, it means that the water comes from their private wells directly into their homes. Groundwater is also vital to US food supplies- currently 64% of crops in the United States are irrigated by groundwater.
While groundwater is generally a safe and healthy source of water, its supply is not endless. A number of factors have significant implications on groundwater quantity and quality. Some examples are:
- Chemical spills
- Feedlot run-off
- Pesticide overuse
- Leaking sewage systems
In recent years, drought, especially in the southwest US, has had the biggest impact on groundwater supplies and quality.
Updated! Private Well Class
The popular Private Well Class series has been updated and moved to a new location. Please use the link below to access this updated, no-cost, online education opportunity!
The Private Well Class is being provided to NEHA at no-charge by the Illinois State Water Survey and the Illinois Water Resources Center at the University of Illinois. The funding for the Private Well Class program comes from the USEPA through a cooperative agreement with the Rural Community Assistance Partnership. Originally intended for well owners, this course has proven to be a resource for EH professionals for basic well and groundwater understanding. The class consists of 10 lessons that can be taken in sequence or individually and are eligible for one (1) CE each from NEHA.