August 24, 2007
Mecklenburg County is in what's classified as "extreme drought." And those on municipal water aren't the only ones being asked to conserve. Mecklenburg County's
Groundwater/Wastewater Services Program is urging residents who use well water also to cut back on water use.
Mecklenburg County is in what's classified as "extreme drought." And those on municipal water aren't the only ones being asked to conserve. Mecklenburg County's Program is urging residents who use well water also to cut back on water use.
Twenty percent of Mecklenburg County residents use private wells for their drinking water. Those wells tap into the groundwater, also called the aquifer, which is recharged by precipitation. During prolonged droughts, groundwater levels decrease. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, current groundwater levels are approaching the lowest point ever recorded in Mecklenburg County, which happened during the drought of 2002.
"The aquifer is not running dry right now," says Lisa Corbitt, Program Manager for Mecklenburg County Groundwater and Wastewater Services. "However, groundwater levels are dropping. People on wells should conserve water to protect their drinking water supply."
Well users are asked to:
· Run full loads of dishes or laundry.
· Water plants only when necessary.
· Take short showers.
· Check for leaky faucets and have them fixed.
Corbitt says the County has not received any reports of local drinking water wells running dry. Signs that a well is drying up can include excess sediment in the water and low water pressure.
During drought, groundwater levels do not drop as quickly as do the levels in creeks and lakes. But once it starts raining again, it will take longer for the groundwater table to be replenished.
Water quantity is not the only issue for well users. Corbitt says well owners should also take action throughout the year to protect their water quality by:
· Inspecting their well head.
· Keeping surface pollution away from their wellhead.
· Protecting the surrounding soil from contamination by oil and household chemicals.
· Avoiding the use of fertilizers or pesticides with 100 feet of the well.
Residents can register their well with the County online. Doing so will allow homeowners:
· To be alerted of nearby contamination and other emergencies that may pose a threat to the well or public health.
· To receive information about water quality problems affecting wells and ways to protect the well from contamination.
· To help Mecklenburg County monitor groundwater quality to ensure it is a safe drinking water source.
To register a well or to find out more about Groundwater and Wastewater Services, visit