The purpose of the Marion County Wellfield Education Corporation is to prevent contamination of Marion County’s groundwater. Why do we care about groundwater contamination, though? You may be wondering how groundwater contamination affects you or your children in your daily life. Or you may be wondering how it would be possible for you to even impact groundwater. Today, we will look at the big picture of groundwater contamination in order to answer your questions!
You can read our wellfield FAQs to brush up on what groundwater is and what a wellfield is to help you understand what we will be talking about today.
The water that arrives in to your faucet each morning for you to brush your teeth or make coffee has to come from somewhere. In Indianapolis, some of the water we use comes from surface water (like the White River, Fall Creek, and Eagle Creek and Geist Reservoirs) and then the rest comes from groundwater aquifers. Right now, about 75% of the water used in Indianapolis comes from surface water and 25% from groundwater. As Indianapolis grows and more water is needed to support more business and people, more and more of Indianapolis’s water will come from groundwater.
In Indianapolis, the land overtop of the underground groundwater is home to many businesses (active and historic) that have used chemicals such as gas stations, dry cleaners, auto repair shops, and many others. Sometimes, chemicals were able to leak or spill into the ground because of bad management at this sites. The chemicals migrate deeper into the ground and eventually into groundwater.
For example, at many locations in Indianapolis that used to be home to dry cleaners, we find dry cleaning chemicals in the water when we test the groundwater around the building. This is bad because then the water from this area can’t be used or has to be extensively cleaned before it can be used. While there are hundreds of clean ups occurring around Indianapolis of old leaks and spills we want to make sure no more groundwater is contaminated because it presents a risk to human health and the environment and the subsequent clean ups are very expensive.
Groundwater contamination is a problem around the world and in many places in the United States. You may have heard about the groundwater contamination problems in Martinsville, Indiana. A dry cleaner operating in Martinsville from 1986 to 1991 didn’t properly store or handle hazardous chemicals like tetrachloroethylene (PCE) and the chemical contaminated the groundwater in the area. The chemical was then found in one of Martinsville’s municipal wells that is used to supply groundwater to residents. EPA became involved and placed the site on the Superfund National Priority List and a remediation system was installed at a water treatment plant to remove the chemical. All of these actions were very costly to the city and the groundwater pollution threatened people and the environment.
Help us prevent the poor business practices that lead to groundwater contamination by participating in our free and confidential business assessment program and complying with the new Wellfield Protection Health Code. Groundwater is your drinking water – Protect it!