Ways you can help protect groundwater and personal health

If your property has a water well, make sure to conduct annual well checkups. In addition to protecting groundwater, yearly water testing and well maintenance can prevent costly maintenance, prolong the life of your well and prevent illness from fecal bacteria, nitrates and other contaminants. See the Washington State Department of Health’s website on safe drinking water and Clark County’s Public Health website for additional water well testing and maintenance information.

You can also protect groundwater and personal health by:

  • Keeping hazardous chemicals, such as paint, fertilizer, pesticides and motor oil far away from your well.
  • Maintaining a “clean” zone of at least 100 feet between your well and any kennels or livestock operations.
  • Periodically checking the well cover or well cap on top of the well casing to ensure it is in good repair and securely attached. Its seal should keep out dirt, insects and rodents.

Another way to protect groundwater is to conserve it. Groundwater is a limited resource. In Clark County, groundwater aquifers supply almost all the water for drinking, agriculture, and other uses. Increasing demands on water supplies and droughts have made conserving water more important. Everyone can start by monitoring everyday water use around the home. For water-saving tips, see the EPA’s WaterSense website.

Residents with on-site septic systems can also protect groundwater by ensuring their system is inspected regularly. See Clark County’s Public Health website on septic systems for more information.

As residents of the rainy Pacific Northwest, we might assume that clean, fresh water will always be ours for the asking. But pollution, urbanization, and other population pressures challenge this assumption. Clark County administers the Clean Water Program to safeguard the quality of our water and comply with the federal Clean Water Act. For more information, see the EPA’s website about the Clean Water Act.