Tuesday was Protect
Your Ground Water Day, and the Indiana Department of Environmental
Management (IDEM) is reminding Hoosiers about the importance of protecting
and conserving Indianaís ground water resources.
Almost 70 percent
of Indiana residents rely on ground water for their drinking water supplies.
More than half a million Hoosiers use individual household water wells and
another 2.4 million residents rely on public water supplies that draw all or
part of their supplies from ground water.
One way to protect
ground water is by plugging abandoned wells, which can be a pathway for
ground water contamination, IDEM said. For example, during floods, surface
water can enter an unsealed abandoned well. If the surface water is
contaminated with farm wastes or spilled chemicals, those contaminants can
ultimately reach the aquifer.
from nearby human or animal waste or small animals, insects, and other
contaminants can directly enter an improperly sealed well.
contamination, all wells abandoned before Jan. 1, 1988, are required to be
capped by the property owner and wells abandoned after that date to be
plugged with impervious materials by a licensed well driller or pump
installer in accordance with Indiana Code 25-39 and Rule 312 IAC 13.
wells also helps protect Hoosiers and animals who could unknowingly or
accidentally fall into a larger diameter abandoned well.
The cleanup of
contamination from accidental chemical or petroleum spills and illegal
dumping is more costly and difficult than preventing contamination in the
first place. To keep all ground water supplies plentiful and clean, Hoosiers
can follow these tips:
* Follow the label
when using and storing cleaners, fertilizer, pesticides, and herbicides as
well as when disposing of unwanted cleaners, paints, used motor oil, old
gasoline, fertilizer, pesticides, and herbicides. Never pour household
chemicals or harsh cleaners down the drain.
* Report accidental
spills to IDEMís 24-hour spill line: (888) 233-7745.
* Do not use motor
oil as a dust suppressant on dirt or gravel driveways, parking lots or
* Maintain septic
systems and inspect them regularly.
* Ensure private
water wells are solidly constructed and maintained to prevent contamination.
* Conserve water by
using less, where possible. For example, turning off the water while you
brush your teeth can save four gallons a minute, which adds up to 200
gallons a week for a family of four. Other tips include taking shorter
showers, running full loads of dishes and laundry, fixing leaks and drips,
avoiding overwatering your lawn, and installing water saving devices on
* Remember that
well water that looks, tastes and smells good could still contain
pollutants. Private well owners are advised to test their well once a year
for coliform bacteria contamination and every five years for arsenic and
For information on
ground water quality in Indiana and plugging abandoned wells, visit in.gov/idem/cleanwater/2450.htm
For a Well Disinfection Fact Sheet, in.gov/idem/cleanwater/files/gw_wells_disinfection_inst.pdf
For plugging and
sealing abandoned wells, visit