Ground water contamination in the United States

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Science  19 Aug 1983:
Vol. 221, Issue 4612, pp. 713-718
DOI: 10.1126/science.6879171


Ground water contamination is of increasing concern in the United States because about 50 percent of our drinking water comes from well water. The causes of contamination stem from both point sources and nonpoint sources. Since ground water moves slowly, the contaminant may affect only a small portion of an aquifer for a considerable period of time. Deleterious effects on human health have resulted from pathogenic organisms in ground water and from its toxic chemical composition. It is difficult to estimate the extent of contamination on a national basis as the frequency of instances of contamination is very variable. Remedial actions to clean up aquifers are difficult, expensive, and sometimes not feasible. Many of the laws and regulations that control ground water contamination are designed with other main objectives.