INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) today announced the latest round of data in an ongoing ground water quality study that includes water well samples from Indiana’s 92 counties. IDEM’s Ground Water Monitoring Network (GWMN) sampling activities initially began with funding provided through a 2008 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grant. Since that time, thousands of samples have been collected from hundreds of public water supplies and thousands of private, residential water wells.
Well testing provides IDEM officials a view of the untreated water as it exists in deep, underground aquifers. The GWMN has several goals, including gathering data to help characterize statewide ground water quality, due in part to the number of Hoosiers who regularly drink well water. Private wells are the responsibility of the owner and are not regulated by the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. The GWMN also identifies areas of the state that may have impaired ground water quality, due to naturally occurring or human influences on the environment.
Top findings from the latest round of sampling include some pesticide degradants, arsenic, nitrogen and nitrate-nitrate readings above the maximum contaminant level and elevated iron concentrations, which is a secondary contaminant and not aesthetically pleasing. Data collected by the GWMN may assist health and government regulators with source water and watershed protection efforts and provide ground water quality information to local communities, citizens, research organizations and industries.
The multi-year sampling effort provides a baseline for future projects, and with samples from all 92 counties, IDEM may expand sampling in areas with notable contamination and adjust the GWMN as necessary to support data gap needs. The entire 2016 GWMN Report is available online. Additional information, including the full GWMN data set, facts sheets about ground water quality in Indiana and resources to help protect private water wells can be found on IDEM’s website.