All About About Groundwater Pollution
Groundwater is one of the major sources of drinking water in the United States. More than 50 percent of the nation’s population depends on it for daily use. Groundwater is also one of the most important water sources for irrigation. Unfortunately, this valuable commodity is highly susceptible to contaminants. So, here are some things you should know about groundwater pollution.
Causes of groundwater pollution
Groundwater pollution occurs when contaminants seep into the earth and mix with the groundwater. These contaminants could include oil, gasoline, salts, fertilizers, pesticides, or chemicals from underground storage tanks. As every environmental consultant in New Jersey will tell you, contaminated groundwater is unfit for human use. Unfortunately, consumers are often unaware of contamination until the harm is done.
Potential sources of groundwater pollution
Lying deep underground doesn’t make groundwater immune to contamination. In fact, groundwater can easily become contaminated if preventive measures are not taken. The main causes of groundwater contamination are:
• Cracked or corroded underground storage tanks: These tanks contain potentially hazardous materials, such as oil, gasoline, and toxic chemicals. They can crack, corrode or develop leaks over time. Contamination occurs when the pollutants leak out and mix with the groundwater.
• Improperly designed and constructed septic systems: Septic systems are meant to drain away human waste slowly and safely over a long period of time. An improperly designed, constructed, located or maintained septic system can leak contaminants, such as household chemicals, bacteria, or viruses, into the groundwater.
• Landfills without a protective bottom layer: Landfills should have a protective bottom layer to prevent contaminants from seeping into the earth. What if no protective layer exists or the protective layer is cracked? The contaminants would then seep into the earth and contaminate the groundwater.
• Abandoned and uncontrolled waste sites: Abandoned and uncontrolled waste sites often contain rusting metals, rotting organic matters, or hazardous materials. These contaminants seep into the earth and, eventually, find their way into the groundwater.
• Fertilizers, pesticides, and other chemicals: Fertilizers and pesticides are widely used on farms and on lawns. Many other chemicals are used in businesses and homes. When it rains, these chemicals seep into the earth and mix with the groundwater. In winter, road salt is used to melt ice formed on the roads to keep vehicles from sliding. When the ice melts, the salt is washed off the road. Some of it will eventually find its way into the groundwater.
• Atmospheric contaminants: The contaminants floating in the air, such as aerosols, can find their way into the groundwater after a rainstorm.
Effects of groundwater pollution
If unchecked, the effects of groundwater pollution can be catastrophic. A large percentage of Americans depend on groundwater. Drinking polluted water can result in serious health problems.
• Effects on human and animal health: Groundwater contaminated by septic tank waste and animal waste can cause dysentery and hepatitis. Groundwater contaminated by fertilizers, pesticides, arsenic, or other toxic substances can cause poisoning. All are potentially fatal.
• Effects on the economy: Agricultural lands become less fertile and less capable of supporting livestock as a result of groundwater contamination. Industries that depend on groundwater become less productive because of a decrease in the quality of the water. Residential lands lose their value because people do not want to live in an area where the groundwater is contaminated.
• Effects on the environment: Groundwater contamination can result in the destruction of the local ecosystem, leading to the exodus or mass death of local wildlife. When contaminated groundwater flows into ponds, lakes, streams, rivers, and swamps, the water becomes contaminated, and the entire ecosystem is affected.
If you believe the groundwater in your home, farm or factory is contaminated, get in touch with New Jersey environmental cleanup companies. They will determine the cause and extent of contamination and will take the necessary remedial actions.
All American Environmental employs trained environmental consultants who can assess and remediate your groundwater pollution issues. Our methods are proven and effective. We specialize in groundwater problems no matter the issue or scale. We use high-tech equipment, provide quick service, and are environmentally friendly while we continue to maintain regulatory requirements.
Contact us today for an environmental consultant to come to your property and asses your groundwater. We are located in NJ and are waiting to help you.