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Groundwater Awareness Week begins March 9
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MONROE - The Green County Land and Water Conservation Department is reminding residents that National Groundwater Awareness Week starts Sunday, March 9.

Groundwater is the water that soaks into the soil from rain or other precipitation and moves downward to fill cracks and other openings in beds of rocks and sand.

With Groundwater Awareness Week coming up, the land and water conservation department is reminding people to have their yearly well test and inspection. Those who do not have a full checkup by a professional, should test wells for coliform bacteria and nitrates. The Green County Health Department has test kits available for $3 or free for those who are pregnant or have a child under 1 year old. Once a kit is tested, tests can be sent to a lab and have tests tested for coliform bacteria and nitrates for $39 or a homeowner's test which tests for coliform bacteria, nitrates, iron, sulfides and hardness for $65.

Groundwater is considered a renewable resource, although renewal rates vary greatly according to environmental conditions. All people by their living habits can protect or harm groundwater. The first step toward protecting groundwater is to become aware of how it can be contaminated. The second step is to keep from contaminating groundwater.

To protect groundwater from contamination, the land and water conservation department has some tips to follow:

• Properly store hazardous household substances (i.e. paint, paint thinners, fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides, oil or gas products) in secure containers

• Mix hazardous household substances over concrete or asphalt where they can be cleaned up or absorbed

• Dispose of hazardous household wastes at an appropriate waste disposal facility or drop-off

• Do not put hazardous household wastes down the drain or in the toilet

• Do not put any wastes down a dry or abandoned well

• Those who own a septic system should service it according to local health department recommendations

• Those who own a water well should get a yearly maintenance check to ensure sanitary seals are intact

• Decommission abandoned wells on properties by using a qualified water well contractor

• Fix or replace any leaking above ground or underground tanks storing hazardous substances