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Groundwater: The Facts You Need to Know

Are you looking at developing a plot of land, constructing a new home or building or installing a well? If so, you’ll know that something you have to consider is the presence, volume and quality of groundwater. Groundwater is present all around us and can affect land development, yet there are so many pervasive myths and misunderstandings about it. Here the top facts that you should know about groundwater.

Groundwater Fact #1: Groundwater is defined as water that occurs underground in cracks and pores in soil and rock, below the topsoil layer. Groundwater travels naturally via aquifers, which are geological formations in the ground.

Groundwater Fact #2: Groundwater is not the water found in rivers, lakes or other bodies of water. It only occurs in the aforementioned small spaces in the ground. It gets there when rain and melting snow and ice seep into the ground, beyond the top layers of soil.

Groundwater Fact #3: Some aquifers are so large they supply water to hundreds of thousands—and even millions—of people. For example, the Edwards aquifer in Texas supplies water for nearly two million people. The Mahomet Aquifer in Illinois supplies water to over 800,000 people.

Groundwater Fact #4: Humans are highly dependent on groundwater. Of all the water on earth, only 1 percent is available or suitable for human use, and of that 1 percent, 99 percent is groundwater. That’s a lot of groundwater that we’re using!

Groundwater Fact #5: Rural households are the most dependent on groundwater for drinking water than urban residents. This is because many rural homes rely on groundwater to supply their wells with water, though most wells are drilled or dug deep enough to also draw water from further below the groundwater level.

Groundwater Fact #6: Like water from any other source, groundwater may naturally contain unwanted substances and have to go through treatment before it’s deemed safe to drink. Some of the most common substances found naturally in groundwater include calcium, magnesium, salt and iron.

Groundwater Fact #7: Groundwater may also be contaminated because of human activity. Oil and chemical spills, pesticides and agricultural runoff can all cause groundwater to become unsafe for human use until it goes through a remediation process.

Groundwater Fact #8: Groundwater doesn’t just hydrate humans—it keeps bodies of water from going thirsty as well. Groundwater serves as a recharger for rivers and lakes, topping them up and helping to maintain levels.

These are just a few of the many interesting facts about groundwater. To learn more about groundwater, and the importance of knowing the volume, depth and yield of groundwater sources before you call the well drillers, visit American Water Surveyors today.

February 16, 2017 at 8:28 am
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