National Groundwater Awareness Week, organized by the National Ground Water Association (headquartered in Westerville, Ohio), is March 6-12, 2016. But any week is a good time to learn more about this widespread, widely used, but often unseen resource that is the source for many public and private water supplies and is closely tied to surface waters.
Below are a large number of information sources for learning about groundwater, categorized by federal government sources, Virginia sources, sources from other states, sources specifically for water wells, and sources specifically for karst terrain.
For more information on Groundwater Awareness Week and other activities of the National Ground Water Association, please see the following:
“National Groundwater Awareness Week,” online at http://www.ngwa.org/events-education/awareness/pages/default.aspx;
“Protect Your Groundwater Day,” online at http://www.ngwa.org/Events-Education/groundwater-day/Pages/default.aspx;
“Ground Water Protection,” 2 minute/46 second video, online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pPm-3Y8GOoo.
Federal Government Sources
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) Office of Groundwater and Drinking Water, online at http://www.epa.gov/aboutepa/about-office-water#ground. This office oversees implementation of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, including provisions for protecting source water, either surface water or groundwater. The EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline, (toll-free) at (800) 426-4791, M-F, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., can provide information about drinking water and groundwater programs authorized under the Safe Drinking Water Act. The service is also available online at www.epa.gov/safewater/hotline/index.html.
U.S. EPA, Ground Water Rule, at http://www.epa.gov/dwreginfo/ground-water-rule.
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Headquarters and Eastern Regional office – USGS National Center, 12201 Sunrise Valley Drive, Reston, VA 20192; online at http://www.usgs.gov; 1-888-ASK-USGS (1-888-275-8747); e-mail: email@example.com.
USGS Virginia Water Science Center – 1730 East Parham Road, Richmond, VA 23228; online at http://va.water.usgs.gov/; (804) 261-2600.
USGS Groundwater Watch Web site, online at http://groundwaterwatch.usgs.gov/ – includes several national maps showing different groundwater-monitoring networks. Click on the national maps to access Virginia or any other state.
USGS National Water Quality Assessment Program (NAWQA), online at http://water.usgs.gov/nawqa/ – assesses water quality of surface water and groundwater in 51 representative areas of the United States.
USGS Water Science School, online at http://water.usgs.gov/edu/.
The Ground Water Atlas of the United States, online at http://pubs.usgs.gov/ha/ha730/ (to enquire about a print version, phone 888-ASK-USGS).
Quality of Water from Domestic Wells in the Unites States, Circular 1332 (2009), online at http://water.usgs.gov/nawqa/studies/domestic_wells/index.html – report on groundwater quality in 2167 domestic wells nationwide.
Quality of Water from Public-supply Wells in the Unites States, Circular 1346 (2010), online at http://water.usgs.gov/nawqa/studies/public_wells/ – report on groundwater quality in 932 public water-supply wells nationwide.
Volatile Organic Compounds in the Nation’s Ground Water and Drinking-Water Supply Wells, USGS Circular 1292 (2006); available online at http://pubs.usgs.gov/circ/circ1292/.
College of William and Mary, “Rivers and Watersheds: The Geology of Virginia,” online at http://web.wm.edu/geology/virginia/rivers/rivers.html. This site has maps of the major river basins in Virginia and provides detailed information on the geology of Virginia’s physiographic provinces and of the James and the Potomac-Shenandoah river basins.
Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (Va. DEQ), Groundwater Characterization Program, online at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/WaterSupplyWaterQuantity/GroundwaterCharacterization.aspx. The groundwater characterization program has specialists who concentrate on different parts of the state. The following people are available if you have questions about groundwater in a certain locality or region (as of 3/9/16):
Piedmont/Blue Ridge Region: Brad White, (434) 293-1028 or firstname.lastname@example.org;
Valley and Ridge Region: Joel Maynard, (540) 574-7864 or email@example.com.
See also the “Frequently Asked Questions” page about wells and groundwater (including testing), online at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/WaterSupplyWaterQuantity/GroundwaterCharacterization/FrequentlyAskedQuestions.aspx.
Va. DEQ, Groundwater Withdrawal Permitting Program, online at http://www.deq.state.va.us/Programs/Water/WaterSupplyWaterQuantity/GroundwaterPermitting.aspx.
Va. DEQ, Solid and Hazardous Waste Regulatory Programs, online at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/LandProtectionRevitalization/SolidHazardousWasteRegulatoryPrograms.aspx – regulating solid waste landfills and other sites where contaminants potentially can seep into groundwater.
Va. DEQ, Water Supply and Quantity, online at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/WaterSupplyWaterQuantity.aspx.
Virginia Groundwater Protection Steering Committee, “Ground Water Basics,” at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/WaterSupplyWaterQuantity/GroundwaterProtectionSteeringCommittee/FrequentlyAskedQuestions.aspx.
Virginia Department of Health (VDH) Division of Onsite Sewage and Water Services, online at http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/EnvironmentalHealth/Onsite/; (804) 864-7454; firstname.lastname@example.org. The office’s mission is to “protect public health and ground water quality,” according to the Web site.
Sources from Other States
Montana State University Extension Water Quality Program educational videos, available online at https://www.youtube.com/user/MSUExtWaterQuality/videos – includes “Taking Care of Your Groundwater,” “Protecting Your Wellhead,” and others related to groundwater. More information: MSU Extension Water Quality Program, P.O. Box 173120, Bozeman, MT 59717-3120; (406) 994-7381; email@example.com.
National Environmental Services Center at West Virginia University, online at www.nesc.wvu.edu, also operates a toll-free number, (800) 624-8301, that provides information on drinking water for individuals and small water-system operators.
Information Specifically on Water Wells
Virginia Administrative Code, “Private Well Regulations,” (Sec. 12 VAC 5-630) online at http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?000+reg+12VAC5-630. “Design and Construction Criteria” are in Part III, starting at Section 12 VAC 5-630-350.
Virginia Master Well Owner Network and Virginia Household Water Quality Program, online at http://www.wellwater.bse.vt.edu/index.php. These programs are coordinated by the Virginia Tech Department of Biological Systems Engineering. The contact for both programs is Erin James Ling, 155 Ag Quad Lane, Room 400D, Biological Systems Engineering Department, Virginia Tech (0303), Blacksburg, VA 24060; phone (540 231-9058; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. See also “Pulse of the Planet” (Web site: http://www.pulseplanet.com/) segments with Virginia well-driller Eric Rorrer and with Erin Ling; the three segments are as follows:
March 10, 2014: Water-Drilling;
March 11, 2014: Water – Surface and Ground;
March 12, 2014: Water-Well Maintenance.
County reports from the Household Water Quality Program are available at the Virginia Cooperative Extension home water-quality publications page, online at http://pubs.ext.vt.edu/category/home-water-quality.html (as of 3/9/16).
Water Systems Council, online at https://www.watersystemscouncil.org/ – national non-profit organization focused on residential wells and small groundwater-based systems. The Council’s Wellcare Hotline is available is available to answer questions about wells and groundwater; call (toll-free) (888) 395-1033 (M-F, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Eastern Time).
Information Specifically on Karst Terrain (including caves, caverns, and sinkholes)
Karst in Virginia
Friends of the Virginia Cave Board, “Virginia Cave Week,” online at http://www.vacaveweek.com/.
Karst Waters Institute, non-profit organization located in Leesburg, Va., online at http://www.karstwaters.org/; (540) 839-5019 – Web site has several publications, teaching resources, and databases, including a searchable database of animals that live in groundwater-related habitats.
Virginia Cave Board, online at http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/natural_heritage/cavehome.shtml.
Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation/Virginia Natural Heritage Karst Program, online at http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/natural-heritage/karsthome.
Bryant Watershed Project of West Plains, Missouri, “Karst in the Ozarks,” online at http://www.watersheds.org/earth/karst.html.
Kentucky Geological Survey, “Karst Land in Kentucky,” online at https://www.uky.edu/KGS/water/general/karst/index.htm.
National Speleological Society, online at http://www.caves.org/.
U.S. Geological Survey, “Karst Topography – Teacher’s Guide and Paper Model,” online at http://geomaps.wr.usgs.gov/parks/cave/karst.html.
George Veni et al., “Living with Karst,” American Geological Institute Environmental Awareness Series, 2001; available online (as PDF) at http://www.agiweb.org/environment/publications/karst.pdf.