December 2003: Volume 45, Number 12
Drilling the Importance of Groundwater Home -- Setting Our Sites High As We Go Underground
by Ronald Y. Pérez, WC&P Managing Editor
I found myself thinking about groundwater the other day as I entered my local Home Depot. As has become my summer ritual, I am bombarded every week or so with fresh weeds growing up through my gravel-rock landscape. So to combat this, I was introduced by a friend to a product called Triox from Ortho. Triox is an all-vegetation killer. Perfect, I thought. Low maintenance, just add water, spray and voilà! But this last time, I went to the familiar spot in the big-box retailer, past the water filters, and headed straight for my trusty Triox. Except it was no longer offered by Home Depot, or anyone else as far as I know. The reason: Triox was evidently nixed in favor of another weed killer, Groundclear. I was told by a helpful Kmart employee (I never thought I would use those three words together) that Triox contained a certain chemical that was “working too well” and some of it was reportedly seeping into some groundwater supplies. This rather long anecdote brings us to the following website review.
AWWARF stands for American Water Works Association Research Foundation, which works with water utilities and health agencies for the betterment of drinking water through research and case studies. This bare-bones site has some of its more important buttons located to the left side of the home page. They include The Foundation, News and Events and Research
Since this review is dedicated to groundwater, perhaps the best place to start and end is the Search. After typing in “groundwater,” I’m supplied with 111 matches. I click on the first listed, “Determining Groundwater Under the Direct Influence of Surface Water.” A printed report is offered to subscribers while non-subscribers (a la me) are given an overview of the report. This is useful since the objective as well as results are discussed. As an additional plus, each keyword (those entered initially in the search box) is highlighted throughout the review for quick reference.
Home of the Groundwater Foundation, this site has quite the family-friendly feel to it. Evidence of this can be seen within the names of some of the main buttons at the tpo of the home page, i.e., Youth Programs and Kids Corner. As for the other main buttons, some of the more notable ones are Groundwater Basics and Groundwater Guardian.
Groundwater Basics provides a bevy of quick facts and general information about groundwater. For instance, we are told that “more than two million cubic miles of fresh water is stored in the earth, and half of that is within a half mile of the surface” and “Fifty-one percent of the U.S. population depends on groundwater daily for drinking.” Some of the more interesting links answer queries such as “What is Groundwater?” “Contamination and Concerns,” “Wells and How They Work,” “Groundwater ABCs” (glossary of terms), and a workshop guide and training materials.
Meanwhile, Groundwater Guardian is the site’s attempt to encourage grass-roots efforts among communities concerned with their groundwater. In fact, a list of communities, affiliates and national partners are available through various links. In short, the Guardian program works this way: It encourages communities to begin groundwater awareness and protection activities, supports the communities in their efforts, and recognizes their achievements. This international program (United States and Canada) began in 1994 with eight test-year communities.
Break out the steaks as this site hails from Worcestshire, United Kingdom (U.K.). The home page is about as plain as they come. A well drillers logo is shown along with the prerequisite contact information (phone, fax and email). Luckily for me, there’s also an “enter” (the actual site) button.
First, a little background on the association, according to the site: The Well Drillers Association was formed 65 years ago and “acts as a forum for interested parties in the design and construction of water wells and boreholes. Membership consists of companies and individuals engaged in well construction, test pumping, maintenance and rehabilitation. A number of its members also act as distributors for well-related equipment including pumps.”
Aside from About Us, other main buttons include Standards, Members and Links. There are four sections to Standards—contract arrangements, general, specifications and water resources legislation. These refer to the standards that can be applied to the construction and installation of water supply boreholes in the UK. Exactly 20 members are located under the Members button. Each listing comes with a contact name along with links to the company’s email address and website.
Links are divided into three groups: general information sites, regional water supply companies and international sites. Without listing all, some more pertinent ones are UK Groundwater Forum ((www.nwl.ac.ukgwf/), Groundwater Images (www. nwl.ac.uk/gwf/gwfimg1. htm), Severn Trent Water (temporarily unavailable), The Water Page (www.the waterpage.com) and U.S. Water News (www. uswaternews.com).
Whether you’re strolling through this month’s National Ground Water Association show in Disneyworld, aka Orlando, Fla., or working your way around a local Home Depot (or Lowes), groundwater issues may be lurking around the next corner. Of course, for many of you water treatment dealers, those pesky DIY water filters may only be visible at two of those locations.
EXTRA: The Subterraneans
We would be remiss to ignore the efforts of the National Ground Water Association and its great purpose to groundwater professionals in the United States. In lieu of this, here are a few websites that may be of interest to our readers. A more extensive list is available at www.ngwa.org/links/links.html
* American Ground Water Trust (www.agwt.org)
* Australian Drilling Industry Association (www.adia.com)
* Instrumentation Testing Association (www.instrument.org)
* National Driller (www.drillersonline.com)
* National Drinking Water Clearinghouse (www.nesc.wvu.edu)