Evaluating the vulnerability of bored and driven wells in a Shallow unconfined aquifer.

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This department, Practical Stuff! originated from you, our readers. Many of you have expressed to us that one of the main reasons you read the Journal of Environmental Health is to glean practical and useful information for your everyday work-related activities. In response to your feedback, we dedicate this section to you with salient points to remember about two to three articles in each issue.

* Over 30 million people in the United States depend on private wells as their source of drinking water.

* Shallow unconfined aquifers are the only source of water for private wells in some rural areas.

* The Oak Openings region of Ohio is one such location.

* Shallow wells are generally developed in sand and gravel aquifers that are characterized by large pore size, which allows rapid and easy passage of both water and contaminants.

* Wells are usually bored or driven in shallow aquifers and are more susceptible to contamination caused by human activities on the surface.

* The quality of water found in shallow aquifers can differ according to land use and impacts of human activity in the area.

* By-products of human activity in nonindustrial suburban and rural areas that have been found to impact shallow well aquifers include

-- road salt runoff,

-- water softener brine waste,

-- animal and human waste, and

-- agricultural and lawn chemicals.

* In cold regions where roads are salted, sodium and chloride are markers that indicate roads and highways as sources of shallow well aquifer contamination.

* Residents with water softeners and onsite wastewater treatment systems may find chloride and sodium ions in their drinking water.

* The presence of nitrogen species in groundwater is used as an indicator of septic system, animal waste, and fertilizer contamination.

* To provide better protection for consumers developing shallow wells, local health departments have doubled the required minimum 50 feet distance for isolation from sources of contamination.

* The potential for contamination still exists, however.

* Over a two-year period, 42 wells were tested in the region for a large suite of pesticides and inorganic chemicals.

* The Oak Openings Region in northwest Ohio provides an ideal area to study shallow wells constructed in an unconfined sand aquifer.

* This study was undertaken to evaluate the vulnerability of bored and driven private water supply wells developed in the Oak Openings Region.

* The long-range goal of the study was to advise local...

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