Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Today is Protect the Groundwater Day

Every day, Americans use 79.6 billion gallons of fresh groundwater for public and private use, including for drinking water, irrigation, livestock, manufacturing, mining, and more. On September 13th, “Protect Your Groundwater Day,” the Maryland Department of Environment (MDE) reminds all Marylanders about the value of clean groundwater and what citizens can do to protect this essential and valuable resource.

“Half of the water in Maryland’s rivers, streams, and reservoirs originates as groundwater, and all Marylanders get their drinking water from these sources,” said Maryland Department of the Environment Secretary Robert M. Summers. “Protecting Maryland’s groundwater is a critical component to restoring our waterways and the Chesapeake Bay. In addition, our work to reduce polluted runoff form urban and agricultural sources, to properly dispose of and clean up hazardous waste, and to proceed cautiously as we study potential drilling in the Marcellus Shale all protect Maryland’s groundwater as well as our streams, rivers, and reservoirs. We encourage citizens to also do their part to protect our fresh water, including groundwater, today and every day.”

Groundwater is created from rain that falls on the land, running into waterways or soaking into the ground. Water that soaks into the ground is filtered as it passes through various layers of sand, clay, or rock. However, man-made chemicals such as gasoline, fertilizers, and pesticides may not get filtered and can contaminate groundwater.

Below are just a few of the ways citizens can help keep Maryland’s groundwater clean:
  • Support Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay watershed restoration effort and all of Maryland’s critical clean water initiatives to reduce pollution from wastewater treatment plants, septic systems, urban/suburban runoff, agricultural runoff and even air pollution controls, which reduce the nitrogen falling on our land and water from power plants, cars, and trucks.
  • Seventeen million gallons of gas are spilled each year in America during the re-fueling of lawn mowers — fuel your lawn mower over impervious surfaces and be careful to not to overfill your tank.
  • Ensure your septic system was installed per current code standards and consider installing nitrogen reducing technology, which protects your drinking water and is good for the Bay.
  • Apply fertilizers and pesticides sparingly to reduce polluted runoff that can contaminate groundwater and water wells. 
  • Use water wisely: Don’t pour water down the drain when there may be another use for it, such as watering your indoor plants or a garden, and don’t run a faucet when you’re not using water while brushing your teeth.Learn more about groundwater and Protect Your Groundwater Day here.
Information for this post supplied by Maryland Department of the Environment

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