Produced by the Cave Conservancy of the Virginias, June 1997
Many homeowners believe that the source of their groundwater is miles away, and is naturally protected from surface activities. In reality, water quality monitoring projects in cave country have documented that water often comes directly from the immediate surface. These projects also have found unacceptable levels of bacteria and nutrients in more than half of the private water wells sampled.
Groundwater pollution can originate on your property or on surrounding land, potentially resulting in unsafe drinking water supplies for both you and your neighbors. Household wells and springs can be contaminated by many common and seemingly harmless activities such as boarding or pasturing livestock; the over-application of pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers; storing home heating oil; vehicle maintenance; and on-site sewage disposal.
The best means of protecting your groundwater supply is to become familiar with the geology and hydrology of your watershed, and to work diligently with your neighbors to clean up dumps and limit potentially polluting activities in key source water areas.
Your family's health depends on a safe, reliable source of water for drinking, bathing and other needs. Your well is also valuable because it represents a large financial investment.