Groundwater refers to the water that is below the surface of the earth, much like how it sounds, and is usually retrieved by boreholes and wells. Groundwater is the main source of the United States’ fresh water, accounting for 95% of the nation’s available freshwater resources. Half of the entire population uses those groundwater reserves as their primary source for drinking water.
Groundwater is an important asset to all facets of life and society within the United States, as you can imagine. It gives people clean water to drink and farmers a source to irrigate their crops. However, groundwater is often times contaminated by activities above ground, which can pollute the water. Sources of contamination can include but are not limited to:
- Road salts;
- Pesticides and weedkillers;
- Storage tanks for gasoline, oil, etc.;
- Septic Systems; and
- Hazardous waste
However, the polluted water does not go straight from the ground to the faucet. Using groundwater remediation methods, water treatment companies are able to remove those pollutants with certain processes and provide a viable water solution.
Groundwater remediation technologies and techniques can vary company to company, but the fundamentals of the process remain primarily the same. There are three groundwater remediation methods that environmental consultants use to decontaminate the polluted water.
- Physical: The simplest method of water treatment. Uses air sparging to strip the water clean.
- Biological: This method uses biologic organic matter to break down the contaminants within the water. Often involves bioaugmentation, bioventing, and biosparging to break down the various chemicals and compounds in the water. In some cases, the water does not need to be removed for this method of remediation.
- Chemical: The water is treated with chemicals and processes to remove the contaminants, such as carbon absorption, ion exchange, oxidation, and chemical precipitation.
Remediation’s primary goal is to decontaminate fresh water from all pollutants and provide a viable source of usable water. Any of the methods listed above can be effective in removing those contaminants, but as to which one will work best for specific situations will have to be determined by the consultant.
Keeping the Earth’s water clean is the number one goal.