Extent and Sources of Ground Water Contamination Now in the Nineties

by Jay H. Lehr, Natl Water Well Assoc, Dublin, United States,



Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Supplying Water and Saving the Environment for Six Billion People

Abstract: In spite of man's tendency toward grandiose surface-water projects which resist natural forces, along with a political climate which spawns disincentives to conserve and economically develop water, the world is at last on the right track toward balancing its water budget and minimizing dislocations caused by water shortfalls. Although the quantities of this resource that have been polluted are a small percentage of the whole of available water, the multiplicity of activities that have created the problem, coupled with man's ignorance of his role in the problem, make water quality the primary water supply issue. Rapidly advancing hydrogeologic knowledge is fostering scientific efforts to eliminate or contain contaminants now reaching our nation's ground water. Technologies are improving both in terms of their potential for success and economic feasibility. However, the long-term goal of maintaining a still largely uncontaminated water resource must rely on the future prevention of pollution. The very wastes which have created our serious ground-water pollution problems these past three or four decades are at last being significantly reduced by some of the industries who were previously among the worst, though largely unwitting parts of the problem. Though few people appear to be satisfied with the environmental regulatory matrix intended to serve as a safety net, the bottom line for industry is quickly being perceived as an increasingly high cost for waste disposal.

Subject Headings: Water resources | Water quality | Water supply | Groundwater pollution | Water conservation

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