Know Your Risk for Groundwater Contamination

Thumbnail image for fb49346c015be8c88fa807dd31907a0b.jpgFifty percent of Americans depend on groundwater for daily use in their homes, i.e., drinking, showering, etc. Unfortunately, the quality and safety of our groundwater is under increasing threat from a variety of man-made sources, with potentially grave risk to the health of those in our family who may be exposed to the contamination. Please take a moment to consider whether you live near any of these common sources of groundwater contamination:

  • Old industrial sites: There are over 20,000 known abandoned and uncontrolled hazardous waste sites in the US. Many were the site years ago of the reckless disposal of toxic chemicals, which by now have had years to migrate into local groundwater.
  • Landfills: Many landfills-and especially those which accepted waste before 1980 — are a danger to groundwater. Why? Because these landfills typically accepted dangerous chemicals (even though it was forbidden) and were not lined at the bottom, to prevent leakage of the chemicals directly into groundwater.
  • Underground storage tanks: There are an estimated 10 million buried storage tanks in the US, many containing gasoline, oil, and other toxic chemicals which, if given enough time, will seep through the tank’s walls, and into the groundwater.

Pollutants in groundwater can travel between hundreds of feet from their source to, in extreme cases, two miles or more. So, if you live near any of these common sources of groundwater contamination, and your family depends on the groundwater for daily home use, please consult your state’s environmental regulator or the US EPA, to learn whether they pose a serious risk to your family.

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