5 Potential Sources of Groundwater Pollution

Groundwater is responsible for at least 30% of our freshwater supply worldwide. With around 99% of rural residents using groundwater every day, monitoring pollution in these supplies can be essential. Homeowners and businesses using groundwater require it for everything including irrigation for growing our food, completing household or business operations, and for manufacturing tasks. The groundwater sources across the USA have been placed under assault through a variety of sources. 

Groundwater is often considered safer than most surface water supplies. Contaminates that leach into it can cause pollution and lead to an issue with the whole supply. Even though the types of pollution do often occur as a result of human intervention, natural pollution is possible as well. We will be taking a look at some of the destructive activities that can cause groundwater pollution.

Understanding Groundwater

Groundwater is water that has traveled down through the surface that has now collected in rocks and sediment, because the water cannot penetrate further, it pools, often forming large bodies of water slowly discharging into aquifers or lakes. These supplies can be manipulated for large-scale irrigation, wells, and more. The supply gets regularly recharged through the rain, snow, and from other water supplies like irrigation leaks and changes to a river flow. 

Groundwater can become contaminated or is at risk of contamination each time that we get rain or snow. Pollutants have the chance to seep into the water supply and contaminate it by picking up any loose liquids that it comes into contact with along the way. Contaminants often remain concentrated due to the slow-moving nature of groundwater. This forms an ongoing plume that can spread its way through the supply. 

The Possible Sources For Pollution

A Natural Source

Groundwater contamination isn’t always a result of human activity, there are some substances that are found in the soil like chlorides, sulfates, fluoride, and more. There are naturally occurring substances that occur like decaying organic matter which can move into groundwater particles. Groundwater supplies containing these materials will need to be tested regularly. 


Regular fertilizer use from agriculture can be a huge source of pollution. The pesticides and fertilizers that are used near water supplies can run off and result in poor water quality for the community. Each rainstorm has the potential to carry along chemicals in animal waste, slurry, fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides, and more. 


Waste from local pipelines and sewers can pollute groundwater supplies. If the pipes are located improperly or constructed poorly, this could lead to a buildup of viruses, bacteria, and more. Pipelines that are carrying waste or oil do have a tendency to leak and cause groundwater contamination. 

Natural Gas Drilling

Hydraulic fracturing from natural gas or fracking is a process that is used for drilling natural gas. There is a mixture of chemicals combined with water which gets forced deep into the cracks of the ground. Opening these items can deliver greater access to the gasses. This type of drilling can cause methane to seep into the water. 

Hazardous Waste

When paint and other hazardous waste are disposed of improperly, there can be contaminations that occur in the groundwater supply. Pouring the wrong chemicals down the drain could lead to the chance that you could poison groundwater well. Even substances like medicines, disinfectants, or lawn and garden chemicals in a storm drain can lead to continual problems with hazardous waste.

In order to protect your water supply, it may be a wise idea to consider the option of installing a filter for your tap or for your whole home water supply. Installing a quality filter for your home water supply could give you excellent peace of mind when you turn on the tap as most water filtration systems will have no issue removing these topwater contaminants and more. Contact us today to learn more!