National groundwater awareness week: focus on groundwater contamination

Helping Communities with Groundwater Contamination Through Regional Cooperation

National Groundwater Awareness Week 2023

Established in 1999, National Groundwater Awareness Week aims to highlight the responsible use of groundwater, as well as its development and management. This year, the National Ground Water Association is focusing on providing education for water well owners on how to test, tend, and treat their private water systems.

What is coliform contamination and what do you do about it?

Coliform bacteria are a group of microorganisms commonly found in soil, surface water, and on plants. They are also present in the intestines of animals and humans. The presence of some types of coliform bacteria, such as e. coli, in water signals the presence of feces or sewage waste, which can be a source of potentially disease-causing organisms. This kind of contamination can occur in areas with improperly installed septic systems or in agricultural areas from animal farming operations. If you have a well that tests positive for coliform bacteria, contact the environmental health program at your local health department for information on how to treat your well.

Groundwater Contamination

Although groundwater contamination is rare, it has the potential to harm the environment, make people sick, and have a negative economic impact on the entire community. McGill has worked on projects where nearby groundwater contamination has become a problem for members of the community. In some of these instances, treating the groundwater contamination is only one of many options for the public to obtain clean drinking water. In lieu of treatment, owners of contaminated wells can petition nearby local governments and utilities to have public water service extended to their homes or businesses. McGill assists many communities with the development of regional agreements for the sale of water, the interconnection of water systems, and water system extensions to provide clean drinking water when treating private wells may not be the best option.

Town of Godwin Addresses Groundwater Contamination in the Community

The Town of Godwin is a small community with a population of less than 150 residents in Cumberland County. For almost eight years, McGill has been working with the Town on a project to extend water service to households in the outlying area who have been experiencing issues with groundwater contamination. The residents in this area met with the Town council and asked the Town to help them overcome contamination issues with their private wells.

Tips for groundwater awareness week

Residents had identified fecal coliform and Escherichia coli (e. coli) contamination in some of their wells. The Town council responded positively to the residents’ petition to extend public water service to their homes. McGill, in coordination with the Southeast Rural Community Assistance Project, Inc. and United States Department of Agriculture – Rural Development, assisted the Town in working with this group of concerned residents to obtain additional testing and capture information necessary to obtain grant funding for the project. McGill presented an option to the Town to extend water service to these residents and create a new emergency water backup for the Town from Harnett County. With McGill’s help, the Town was awarded over $2.4 million in funding, including $1.6 million in grants for this project. Phase 1 of the project, which will extend water service to over 50 new users, is currently under construction.

By creating a new interconnection, both the private well owners and the current water users of the Town benefit from the water infrastructure upgrade.

Learn More

McGill helps communities with issues like these explore opportunities for regional cooperation, from addressing financial planning to meeting regulatory requirements and providing opportunities for public engagement. When a successful agreement is achieved, our team of engineers can also assist with the design, bidding, and construction administration for projects such as these. Contact us to find out how McGill can assist with your needs at or 844.448.4333

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