Local Water Utilities United for Safe Drinking Water

How is Groundwater Contaminated?

Septic Systems: Septic tanks that are above groundwater aquifers may fail to break down contaminants due to…

  1. Improper construction, design or location
  2. Too many septic systems in one area
  3. Inadequate maintenance (Septic tanks should be pumped periodically to prevent overloading)
  4. Toxic materials being released in the septic system by pouring paints, solvents and other potential contaminants down the drain or toilet. These may compromise the life of microbial organisms that break down contaminants.
  5. Storm drains: The drains you find on streets are called “storm drains.” Water from rainfall and snow can wash contaminants off the surfaces of streets and sidewalks. These substances may be so harsh that normal microbial degradation cannot occur before reaching groundwater supplies below.
  6. Household Actions: Simple acts around the house can affect the quality of our drinking water. Harsh chemicals that are poured down the drain, down the toilet, or on the ground can contaminate. In addition, improper disposal of hazardous chemicals in garbage cans may contaminate. Contaminants like solvents and paints cannot be properly eliminated through landfill disposal. Take these excess materials to the Solid Waste Transfer Station in your area.
  7. Industrial Actions: Manufacturing industries often use chemicals, solvents, cleaners, and fuels that may not be safely decomposed. Go to our links page to view a list of contaminants.

Improper disposal, storage or use of potential contaminants poses a serious threat to groundwater. Contamination may also occur as a result of accidents or natural disasters. Oil spills, tankers that leak or any disaster that permits contaminants to flow on surfaces or in the ground can have dangerous consequences.

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