Governor urges citizens to protect groundwater

DOW to hold well maintenance workshop Sept. 10

Gov. Steve Beshear has proclaimed Sept. 10 as Protect Your Groundwater Day in Kentucky to help bring attention to the importance of groundwater to our communities and the need to protect this vital natural resource.

In signing the proclamation, the governor called upon Kentuckians to “help protect our source waters from pollution, to practice water conservation and to get involved in local water issues.”

Groundwater is a valuable resource for industry, commerce, agriculture and, most importantly, drinking water. In Kentucky, 2 million people rely on groundwater from wells and springs for their drinking water.

One way citizens can help protect their groundwater source is through proper water well maintenance, said DOW geologist Rob Blair.

“When we follow up on complaints about problems with private wells, the solution is usually related to well maintenance,” said Blair. “It helps to think about your well as you would your car – you’re better off performing routine maintenance rather than waiting until something goes wrong. It’s the same with wells – they need regular attention.”

Blair added that well users are often unaware of basic well maintenance needs – a problem his agency will address with a special Protect Your Groundwater Day to be held Sept. 10 at Appalshop in Whitesburg, Ky.

DOW is inviting the public to learn the basics of well maintenance at a hands-on demonstration to be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 10, in the parking lot of Appalshop, located at 91 Madison Ave.  A mock-up well and plumbing system complete with running water will illustrate the parts of a well, the pump and the piping, while DOW groundwater experts demonstrate the methods for proper cleaning and maintenance. The event is free and open to the public.

Blair said wells should be checked annually.

“If you are a well owner, inspect your well annually and disinfect it to prevent problems from arising,” said Blair.  “An annual checkup by a qualified water well contractor is the best way to ensure problem-free service and quality water. Preventive maintenance is usually less costly than emergency maintenance and it can prolong the life of your well and related equipment.”

The Kentucky Division of Water coordinates several programs aimed at protecting the Commonwealth’s groundwater. The Groundwater Protection Program requires the development and implementation of a protection plan by anyone conducting activities that have the potential to pollute groundwater. The Wellhead Protection Program requires public water supplies relying on groundwater to delineate the recharge area of the well or spring from which it draws its water, identify potential contaminant sources in this area and implement groundwater protection strategies for these areas. Additionally, the Drillers Certification Program regulates the construction of water wells.