When astronomers search for evidence of extraterrestrial life, they look for planets that have an abundance of liquid water; this is because water is a vital ingredient for carbon-based life as we know it. The earth is unique with this regard as nearly three-fourths of our planet’s surface is covered in water. Human beings need water to survive, as the body can only survive an average of three days without it. For something so essential to life as we know it, as a species we seem to take for granted just how precious water is.
One Planet, One Chance
Although planet earth is covered in water, only 3% of that water is fresh water suitable for drinking. With such a limited amount of drinkable water on the planet, it is surprising to hear that about 70% of industrial waste is dumped into water bodies that pollutes the usable water supply. Many cities rely on groundwater from aquifers to supply the population with fresh water; unfortunately there are approximately 16,000 chemical spills from trucks, trains, and storage tanks that can contaminate these aquifers and endanger the population. The most recent example of the dangers of water pollution is the crisis taking place in Flint, Michigan where an abundance of lead in the Flint River endangered the population.
The Shortcomings of Water Treatment
Many Americans are familiar with the water treatment process that takes waste water and makes it potable again. Although water treatment facilities are able to filter out sediments, certain chemicals, and bacteria, the process is not able to remove all contaminates. Primary and secondary waste treatments remove an estimated 85% to 95% of pollutants from wastewater before the water is disinfected and discharged into local waterways. Although many would consider that 15% to 5% of pollutants to be negligible, the people of Flint, Michigan would be some of the first to disagree.
The Need for Groundwater Contamination Remediation Projects
Since groundwater accounts for over 95% of the nation’s available fresh water resources, a majority of Americans rely on aquifers and wells for their fresh water. With increasing pressure from agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) many cities have invested in groundwater contamination remediation equipment to report spills and dangers to such agencies. It is suggested that over 80% of the nation’s most hazardous waste sites have adversely impacted the quality of nearby ground water; groundwater contamination remediation contractors are often called in to help remove pollutants and contaminates that affect the subterranean aquifers that residents receive drinking water from. A growing conservation and restoration movement is sweeping the nation, as residents are banding together to take a stand against pollution. Water contamination affects everyone; together we can take a stand and organize groundwater contamination remediation projects to create a cleaner, healthier future for us all.