Extent of Ground Water Contamination in the U.S.: An Overview

by Marian Mlay, US EPA, Washington, DC, USA,
Norbert Dee, US EPA, Washington, DC, USA,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Detection, Control, and Renovation of Contaminated Ground Water


The contamination of ground water may result from all aspects of human activities: agriculture, industry, transportation, domestic wastes and resource exploitation. The contamination due to man has occurred for centuries, but urbanization, industrialization and increase population density have greatly aggravated the problem in some areas. The contaminants found in ground-water vary from simple inorganic ions to complex synthetic organic chemicals. This paper provides an overview of why ground-water protection has become such an important issue in recent years and describes future trends in accomplishing ground-water protection. It discusses the importance of the ground-water resource, the nature and extent of contamination, the health and environmental impacts of contamination, and the continuing Federal, state, and local efforts to protect the quality of ground water.

Subject Headings: Groundwater pollution | Agricultural wastes | Groundwater quality | Groundwater | Water resources | Public health and safety | Irrigation water | Industrial wastes

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