Groundwater in the United States and the Importance of Water Quality Monitoring

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In order to ensure that the United States and other countries throughout the world have adequate water for drinking and other necessary purposes, such as crop irrigation, it is important to focus on proactive solutions. Groundwater monitoring is conducted on a regular basis by engineering firms and other relevant public and private enterprises.

The Relationship Between Rainfall and Groundwater

Approximately 25% of the rainfall that occurs within the United States becomes groundwater. This groundwater flows through many of the country’s streams and enters lakes and other water bodies. Healthy groundwater supplies, however, have been depleting due to a variety of factors.

The Need for More Residential Wells

In order to access groundwater supplies, the National Ground Water Association reports that an estimated 500,000 new residential wells are needed to be constructed every year. Since these wells provide much-needed water supplies, groundwater contracting firms are in demand. In order to construct these water supply systems, an estimated 8,085 groundwater contracting firms are using over 18,460 drilling machines.

How Groundwater Is Contaminated

Groundwater becomes contaminated due to a variety of natural and man-made causes. The latter, however, appears to be a significant cause, and together these exacerbate the situation. During heavy storms, for example, industrial and residential pollution flows into the water system as well.

More than 73 different types of pesticides have been discovered within the United States’ groundwater supply. Furthermore, over 66% of the estuaries and bays within this country have become severely degraded as a result of nitrogen and phosphorous pollution. Recent water quality reports have found the following levels of pollution within various bodies of water within the United States:

  • Streams: 45%
  • Lakes: 47%
  • Bays: 32%

This is not surprising when considering that people in the United States use more than 2.2 billion pounds of pesticides on an annual basis. In addition to pesticides, other chemicals and hazardous waste enter these and other bodies of water. As a result, these toxic substances have an adverse effect on drinking water supplies. Unless this water is properly filtered, it can’t be used for drinking or other purposes, such as bathing, irrigation, and so forth.

The Role of Engineering Firms

Engineering firms can provide a variety of vital services to address these and other issues. An environmental engineering consulting firm, for example, can provide aerial surveying, ground water modeling and monitoring, and other types of geotechnical investigation services.

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