INDIANAPOLIS — The week of March 11-17 is National Groundwater Awareness Week, and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management is reminding Hoosiers about the importance of protecting and conserving Indiana’s groundwater resources.
In 1999, National Groundwater Awareness Week was created to provide an opportunity for people to learn about the importance of the resource and how it impacts lives.
According to the National Groundwater Association (NGWA), approximately 132 million Americans rely on groundwater for drinking water. It’s also used for irrigation, livestock, manufacturing, and several other purposes – which makes it one of the most widely used and valuable resources on the planet.
In Indiana, almost 70 percent of Hoosiers rely on groundwater for their drinking water supplies. More than half of Hoosiers use individual water wells and another 2.4 million rely on public water supplies that draw all or part from groundwater.
This year’s theme of “Test. Tend. Treat.” is especially important for Hoosiers who have private wells. It’s the homeowner’s responsibility to ensure their well water is safe to drink. The “Test. Tend. Treat.” method will provide some insight to understanding when to hire a water treatment professional.
- Test – It is recommended to sample water on a routine basis as water quality can change over time. Well water pollutants are often colorless and odorless, making detection at home difficult. For information on testing procedures and how to understand the results, please refer to the Indiana State Department of Health’s Well Water Quality and Testing page: isdh.IN.gov/26973.htm.
- Tend – Regular inspections of wells can protect and reduce the possibility of future issues. Annual inspections should be completed by a licensed or certified water well system professional. In between a professional inspection, well owners are encouraged to visually inspect the well to look for any warning signs including a cracked well cap, debris on or around the wellhead, or ponding or flooding around the well after storm events.
- Treat – Based on the type of contaminants reported in the test results there are several types of treatment options. NWGA has provided a list of options for various contaminants ranging from whole-house treatment to point-of-use treatments: wellowner.org/water-treatment. More information can be found in IDEM’s Well Disinfection fact sheet: www.idem.IN.gov/cleanwater/files/gw_wells_disinfection_inst.pdf.
For more information about National Groundwater Awareness Week, visit www.ngwa.org. For more information about the Groundwater Section in IDEM’s Office of Water Quality, visit www.idem.IN.gov/cleanwater/2450.htm.