‘What’s Your Eddy IQ?’ If the ground filters water, is groundwater always clean?

Nikki Nguyen

Welcome back to ‘What’s Your Eddy IQ?’

This week we asked: If the ground filters water, groundwater is always clean. True or False? It turns out that the answer is False!

Although 70% the planet’s surface is covered by water, freshwater only occupies a very small proportion, equaling to 2.5%. (SOURCE). 30% of this 2.5% of freshwater exists underground as groundwater. This groundwater is stored beneath the earth’s surface, moving through the cracks and spaces in sand, rock and soil (SOURCE). According to Worldatlas, groundwater accounts for approximately 40% of the world’s drinking water (SOURCE).

Although it is a major source of drinkable water, that doesn’t necessarily mean that groundwater is always clean (SOURCE). Groundwater is found within aquifers, filtering through various strata of soil, sand, and gravel. These strata remove most toxic chemicals, and disease-causing agents. Ironically, the method used to drill for groundwater may affect its cleanliness. This can be mitigated with a thorough understanding by those doing the drilling of the size and location of aquifers as well as the likely sources of contamination. Furthermore, the type of material used to build a well, well disinfection, pump construction and development are essential in ensuring an aquifer can continue to be source of safe and clean water over the long term.

In addition to this, water contamination can happen if the well is constructed near industrial zones, farms, or wherever chemicals might be applied to the ground (SOURCE). For example, infection caused by a leaking storage tank at a gas station can make water drawn from a nearby well poisoned.

Needless to say, clean groundwater should not be taken for granted.

About Eddy
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