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September 4 is "Protect Your Groundwater Day"

You can help protect this valuable resource

Post Date:08/21/2018 12:05 PM

WOODSTOCK IL – If you live in McHenry County, groundwater is something you should know about. All of the water coming out of your tap is groundwater. In fact groundwater is used for drinking water by more than 50 percent of the United States population.  We depend on groundwater for everything from the tap water in our homes to crop irrigation.  It’s also how lakes, rivers and streams (surface water) are recharged.

Although groundwater can be less vulnerable to pollution than surface water, contamination can occur when products such as gasoline, oil, road salts and chemicals seep into the ground.  Chemicals (such as solvents, excessive fertilizers and pesticides, or pharmaceuticals) from industry, agriculture, landfills or households can pollute groundwater and result in serious health effects.

McHenry County has been studying and taking action to protect this valuable resource for decades.  In 1991 McHenry County, along with Boone and Winnebago Counties, formed the Northern Regional Groundwater Protection Planning Committee.  In 1997 McHenry County Department of Health (MCDH) was instrumental in publishing a geological map for environmental planning in the County.  In 2011 the McHenry County Board adopted the Water Resources Action Plan, providing direction for protecting water resources. The County has a Water Resources Division that’s responsible for stormwater management and planning for the protection and sustainable use of our water supply.  Last November the McHenry County Department of Planning and Development hosted the 1st Annual Water Forum on the sustainability of our water supplies.  Scott Kuykendall, Water Resources Specialist for the County, said “Over-consumption, drought, contamination and development can all detrimentally affect the water systems and water availability.” 

We all can and should do what we can to protect groundwater. A few ideas you can easily implement:

  • Landscape with native or drought tolerant plants that do not require much additional watering or fertilizer. They look great, provide pollinator habitat, and protect water. 

  • Install faucets and fixtures bearing the WaterSense label.  These use significantly less water without compromising performance.

  • Shut off the water when you brush your teeth or shave and save 200 gallons monthly.

  • Only run full loads in the dish and clothes washer.

  • Use natural cleaners, pesticides and fertilizers whenever possible.

This year’s no-cost Water Forum will be September 12 at McHenry County College.  Registration is open to the public and features great speakers. Catering will be Dukes Ale House and Kitchen.  Visit www.mchenryh2o.com to register and for more information. Find out more about protecting our valuable groundwater at the Planning and Development Water Resources Division at www.mchenryh2o.com or www.mcdh.info.

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