What Is Groundwater Contamination?


What Is Groundwater Contamination?

Groundwater contamination affects everyone. Contaminated water can eventually affect drinking water quality and put entire communities into jeopardy. There’s good news though: If everyone participates in keeping our water source clean, our actions will go a long way toward ensuring a safe, clean drinking supply.

Why it Happens

Groundwater contamination largely occurs due to human error. It is also more likely to occur in densely populated areas. Waste and chemicals deposited in the water leech into the groundwater, greatly decreasing its quality and creating a health hazard.

Where it Happens

Groundwater may seem too far away to be affected by these materials; however, the problem results when groundwater and surface waters interconnect. For example, when contamination occurs near a well, stream or river, the groundwater eventually pollutes the nearby body of water.

The sources

Any number of factors can contribute to contaminated water:

  • Natural: Often, substances already in the ground can contaminate water. For instance, rock substances like iron or fluorides can dissolve and make their way into groundwater. Organic matter that decays and excessive quantities of what are otherwise safe materials also contribute to the problem.
  • Human: The largest contributor to groundwater contamination by human activity is the septic tank. About 25 percent of homes across the nation employ a septic tank to deal with human waste. When these systems fail or they aren’t maintained, the waste leaches into the groundwater, affecting entire communities. Other human contributors include agriculture processes, commercial factories, cemeteries and so forth. Humans also contribute by improperly disposing of harmful substances like antifreeze, transmission fluid, grease or car washing detergents, metal polishes, drain cleaners, and so on.

Being Part of the Solution

As an individual citizen, you can do a lot to contribute to a safe, healthy water supply for drinking consumption and other uses. The first step involves knowing what you can and can’t dispose of down your own drain, and how to maintain a septic system. Be aware of the dangers of dumping chemicals in landfills. Be a responsible business person and follow regulations for disposing of chemicals. Lastly, be a voice in your community for responsible citizenship and keeping the entire community safe.

For more information about groundwater contamination, or for any of your household’s plumbing needs, contact your local expert plumbing. We are happy to help you with septic tank safety and maintenance. For answers to your questions, contact the Pink Plumber today.

Image Source: Flickr