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Although groundwater is not an abundant resource in northeast Kansas, it is nevertheless a very important one. Did you know that the majority of the population in the Delaware Watershed gets their drinking water from groundwater wells? That's because most public water suppliers in the basin use groundwater sources. Many rural homes in the watershed also use  private wells for drinking and for livestock. 

Although groundwater is somewhat protected by overlying layers of soil and rock, it can be contaminated.  Sometimes wells are located too close to pollutant sources like livestock lots or septic drain fields. Pollutants in streams, ponds and rivers can also enter groundwater in shallow alluvial aquifers (aquifers that are directly recharged by a stream). Groundwater can also become polluted when contaminated runoff flows down bore holes around poorly constructed wells, into open well pits or into old abandoned wells.

What you can do . . .
  • Have your well water tested -- If you use a private well for drinking, have it tested regularly to make sure it is safe.  Contact your local Extension Office for information on how and what to test for.
  • Evaluate the location and construction of your well -- Old wells that are in close proximity to pollution sources or that are in need of repair can be a hazard to groundwater quality and your health. Check with your local health department or Northeast Kansas Environmental Services to have your well evaluated.  See the Partners tab of this website for contact information.
  • Check with your local public water supplier to see if there is a Source Water Assessment for your water supply -- Work with your public water supplier and community develop a protection plan using this resource.
  • Plug abandoned wells-- Abandoned wells can be a significant pollution hazard for groundwater.  They also pose a significant liability hazard for landowners. Properly plugging an abandoned well is not necessarily expensive or difficult. For information and assistance on plugging an abandoned well, contact your local County Conservation District Office (see the Partners tab on this website).