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Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

August 1999

Groundwater myths!

Water drop illustration © Jeanne Gomoll
The water drop will guide you to the truth about 10 common groundwater myths!

MYTH #1

IN FACT
Groundwater always flows from north to south. Depending on location, groundwater can flow in any direction.

MYTH #2

IN FACT
Groundwater comes all the way from Canada and Lake Superior. Groundwater originates as local precipitation – which seeps into the ground and reaches the water table.

MYTH #3

IN FACT
Groundwater flows in underground caverns and rivers. Groundwater flows through cracks and pores between soil and rock particles!

MYTH #4

IN FACT
Groundwater drawn from household wells has been underground thousands of years. Typical private drinking water wells in Wisconsin yield groundwater a few years to a few decades old.

MYTH #5

IN FACT
Groundwater is always pure because soil filters out all impurities. Harmful bacteria in water can be filtered out by soil, but many chemical pollutants are not changed and remain in the water.

MYTH #6

IN FACT
If well water is stained it must be polluted. Stained water doesn't necessarily mean that it's unsafe to drink!

MYTH #7

IN FACT
If water tastes good – it is safe to drink. You can't judge groundwater by its taste or smell alone! A sudden change in flavor or odor should be investigated.

MYTH #8

IN FACT
One simple test can determine that my well water is safe. Wells should be tested regularly from bacteria or nitrates. But there are many chemicals that can enter groundwater that won't show up on a routine water test!

MYTH #9

IN FACT
Pouring a small amount of waste on the ground won't cause a problem. Even small amounts of hazardous substances disposed of improperly can cause groundwater pollution.

MYTH #10

IN FACT
Artesian water is the purest water available. Artesian supply is no guarantee that water is safe! Artesian water can be contaminated.

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