RALEIGH – State officials are using today’s celebration of Protect Your Groundwater Day to encourage North Carolinians with groundwater wells to ensure their drinking water is clean.
Nearly 4.8 million people, roughly half the state’s population, rely on groundwater wells for drinking water and other household needs. Due to the importance of groundwater to Americans, the National Ground Water Association named Sept. 11 Protect Your Groundwater Day.
Officials with the N.C. Division of Water Quality say proper drilling practices are important to ensure drinking water is clean because nearly 9,000 new wells are drilled each year in North Carolina. Improperly constructed or maintained groundwater wells can invite contamination.
State officials recommend protecting drinking water by:
· Making sure a newly drilled well is the proper distance from property lines, septic systems and other potential sources of contamination such as dog pens or workshops. Specific well construction techniques and materials are required to prevent contamination.
· Ensuring well drillers are certified, as required by North Carolina law. Ask your driller to show you his certification. Water supply well drillers must be at level A or B.
· Not storing or mixing pesticides, weed killer, paints or paint thinners, fertilizers, cleaning products, gasoline or oil near a well head. A simple spill could go into the well and contaminate the water. Homeowners with private wells should be aware of potential sources of groundwater contamination in their own yards.
· Avoiding drinking the water or using it for washing if the well is flooded. Contact a licensed professional to have the well flushed, cleaned and disinfected.
· Using a certified professional to properly close or “abandon” a well if you decide to quit using your well. This will ensure the well doesn’t become a source of contamination.
· Looking for ways to reduce the usage of your well, as groundwater aquifers are an important, but finite source of water. Keep in mind aquifers collect and store rainwater and snow melt that soaks into the ground. They also provide base flow and recharge for surface water streams, rivers and lakes.
For more information on well construction, well protection and water conservation, check out the Protect Your Groundwater Day website at: http://www.ngwa.org/Events-Education/groundwater-day/Pages/default.aspx.