Friday, September 15, 2017

BLOG: Global Connections

By Jane Griffin, Groundwater Foundation President

The mission of The Groundwater Foundation is to connect people, businesses and communities through local groundwater education and action. These connections happen every day, everywhere. We recently learned through Twitter about a connection in Kenya.

The Kingwede Water Club in Kwale County, Kenya learned about groundwater, how it can be become contaminated, and more by using our Awesome Aquifer Kits

Photo credit: Kingwede Water Club Blog
"In Kwale County on the coast of Kenya, a research project called Groundwater Risk Management for Growth and Development (Gro for GooD) is striving to help government and groundwater users find a management approach that balances human health, economic growth, and resource sustainability demands while benefiting the poorest demographic.

Inspired by community demand, Gro for GooD  is developing a programme of engagement to teach young women at Kingwede Secondary about water science, policy and management. The hope if to inspire them to promote better use and protection of water resources in their futures. Student-led activities will promote participation and teamwork and help the members develop their research and communication skills. Furthermore, a major benefit of the club is to showcase career options and pathways in environmental science and management and demonstrate that they are open to women as well as men."

Photo credit: Kingwede Water Club Blog
Read all about their learning experience.

Our Awesome Aquifer Kits are truly awesome – they help connect people across the globe in our effort to protect and conserve groundwater.

Do you want to have some fun learning about groundwater? Starting with our Awesome Aquifer kits is a great way. Find out more about the Awesome Aquifers activity or purchase your own.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

It’s Water-Wise Wednesday with Frannie the Fish! {5 Tips to Go Green at School}

Welcome back to school!  Frannie has some useful tips to help you and your friends go green this semester.

1. If you get a ride to school, try carpooling with your friends.  Not only will you be environmentally friendly, but you will also have more fun singing with your friends to the songs on the radio.

2. If you are close to the school, encourage your friends to walk, bike, or even swim to school instead of using a car or the bus.

3. When shopping for school supplies, look for recycled paper, pencils made from recycled denim, and backpacks created from old juice boxes.  Save money, be eco-friendly, and stay on trend for the school year.

4. Speaking of trends, did you know that Target donates it’s damaged, discontinued, and out-of-season items to Goodwill?  You can often find current styles and gadgets at discount stores for a fraction of the price while helping reduce waste.

5. Frannie knows that food waste is a problem, but single-use plastic baggies or brown bags and pre-wrapped snacks are also bad for the environment.  Instead, invest in a re-usable lunch box and utensils. Sturdy plastic storage containers help you go green while protecting your sandwiches and bananas from getting squished on the way to school.

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Bonus Tip: 
Check to see if your school has a recycling program or environmental club you can join. If there isn’t one, consider starting your own and helping your friends go green at school. 

Friday, September 1, 2017

BLOG: Protect Your Groundwater Day is September 5



If you are a private water well owner, there are many ways to protect your water quality. Two of the most important are:

1. To make sure your well is properly capped, and 
2. To properly plug any abandoned wells on your property. 

That’s why the 2017 theme for Protect Your Groundwater Day, on Tuesday, September 5, is “Cap It, Plug It!” 

Why is this so important? A water well provides a direct connection between the what’s above the ground and groundwater in the subsurface. 

If an active water well is not properly capped—or if an abandoned well is not properly plugged—it can create a direct pathway for contamination in the same groundwater you and others use for their drinking water supply. 

If you own a household well, you are responsible for making sure that your well is properly capped and any abandoned wells on your property are properly plugged. 

What makes a properly capped water well? First, not just any covering will do on top of the well casing, that vertical pipe that extends above the ground in your well. A proper well cap should: 
• Be bolted or locked, so that it cannot be easily removed, 
• Have a rubber seal to prevent anything from infiltrating the well where the cap is joined to the well casing, 
• Be in good condition. 

A tight-fitting well cap that is not bolted or locked can be jarred loose or removed by someone other than the well owner. Also, a well cap that lacks a rubber seal or is cracked or otherwise broken can allow bugs, vermin, bacteria or other types of contaminants above the ground surface into the well.

 Well caps should be installed by a water well system professional, and any well cap maintenance or replacement should be done by a professional. Also, a well system should be disinfected when a well cap is installed, repaired, or replaced. 

How do I properly plug an abandoned well? First, the challenge is to find abandoned wells on your property. Some abandoned wells are obvious while others are not. Survey your property for: 
• Pipes sticking out of the ground. 
• Small buildings that may have been a well house. 
• Depressions in the ground. 
• The presence of concrete vaults or pits. 
 Out-of-use windmills. 

Other tips for finding old, abandoned wells can be found in: 
• Old maps, property plans or property title documents. 
• Neighbors. 
• Additions to an old home that might cover up an abandoned well. 

A water well system professional may do additional checking—including a records check—for more information about abandoned wells. 

A water well system professional should always plug an abandoned well using proper techniques, equipment, and materials. The professional should: • Remove all material from the well that may hinder proper plugging. 
• Disinfect the well. 
• Then plug the well using a specialized grout that (1) keeps surface water from working its way into the borehole, and (2) prevents water from different subsurface levels from mixing. 

The cost to plug a well depends on factors including: 
• The depth and diameter of the well 
• The geology of the area 
• Accessibility to the well, and 
• The condition of the well. 

For more information, please visit www.ngwa.org.