Groundwater contamination occurs when natural or man-made substances permeate groundwater, making it unsuitable for use. Pollution can seep into groundwater by several routes. One example is through water from rain or lakes, which wash the soil soaked with toxic substances into groundwater. There are many causes of groundwater contamination. Examples are corrosion, improper waste disposal, improper management of feedlots, improper storage and use of hazardous materials, accidental chemical spills, leaky landfill covers, and poorly installed septic systems.
When water gets contaminated, people and all other living things that drink water pumped out of the ground are severely affected. Groundwater today is still used for various purposes, from drinking, bathing, domestic, and commercial to industrial use. People, animals and other living organisms can get seriously ill or die from drinking or using contaminated groundwater. In order to prevent this type of pollution, everyone should feel responsible and take action.
- Start practicing waste reduction and proper waste disposal at home. Before you expect your neighbors and the authorities to perform measures in preventing ground water contamination, the effort should start within your home. Involve the whole family in being aware of the products you purchase and use. For instance, instead of buying products with disposable packages, go for the ones you can recycle, return or reuse. You can also purchase items in bulk to avoid too much packaging to dispose of. When it comes to food, only prepare what you need, avoid preparing too much. Practice composting food wastes like vegetables and fruits. When you shop, carefully read the labels. Choose non-toxic, alternative or biodegradable household products. If you are using pesticides in your garden, select the least toxic alternatives. As much as possible, avoid using arsenic, toxic chemicals. If you must use them, read instructions and apply them only as suggested. Instead of dumping old appliances, furnishings and other goods, you can choose to apply a makeover, launch a garage sale or donate your stuff. Vehicles are also sources of pollution. Have your car properly maintained so you save the environment and you save money as well.
- Poorly installed septic systems are one of the causes of groundwater pollution. Have your septic tank inspected, and conduct regular maintenance. Do not throw any household chemicals into the tank, and avoid using harmful chemicals for cleaning.
- Agricultural practices should employ crop and soil management. This includes enhancing organic matter, proper planting, good drainage and irrigation systems, and utilizing appropriate equipment for ploughing and harvesting. As for using fertilizers and pesticides, avoid spraying in close proximity to open water. Only use certified pesticides, and apply them as instructed by the manufacturer.
- Industrial, commercial and all other businesses in various industries should employ measures in preventing pollution and make environmental efforts to help save land and water. Institutions that have biological wastes should also apply decontamination prior to disposing of wastes.
There are many other ways to prevent groundwater contamination, as there are also many other sources of this type of pollution. It is important to learn more about them in order to know what you can contribute to the environment and also continue to enjoy clean and safe groundwater.