Thursday, June 20, 2019

BLOG: Ohio Groundwater Guardians Recognized

by Jennifer Wemhoff, Groundwater Foundation

The National Ground Water Association hosted a conference this week in Westerville, Ohio focused on the hot topic of PFAS contamination (PFAS Management, Mitigation, and Remediation Conference).

Several Groundwater Guardians located in Ohio were in attendance, and received special recognition. NGWA CEO Terry Morse and Board President Scott King thanked the teams for their continued work and passion in groundwater education and protection efforts in their communities.

NGWA Board President Scott King talks about the Groundwater Guardian program.

From left: Scott King; Mike Ekberg, Miami Conservancy District; Claudia Dawson, Hamilton to New Baltimore Groundwater Consortium; Jim Shoemaker, Dayton Multi-Jurisdictional Source Water Protection Program; Karen Beason, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base; NGWA CEO Terry Morse; Tim McLelland, Hamilton to New Baltimore Groundwater Consortium

Mike Ekberg, Miami Conservancy District with Scott King

Claudia Dawson and Tim McLelland, Hamilton to New Baltimore Groundwater Consortium with Scott King.

Jim Shoemaker, Dayton Multi-Jurisdictional Source Water Protection Program with Scott King

Karen Beason, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base with Scott King

You can get involved as a Groundwater Guardian too! Find out more.

Friday, June 14, 2019

BLOG: Plastic, Plastic, and More Plastic

by Jennifer Wemhoff, Groundwater Foundation

Everywhere you look, there's plastic. Just glancing down at my desk I see a plastic paper clip holder, plastic mechanical pencil, plastic bases to my computer monitors. Plastic is here, there, everywhere.

I recently ready an article about a study of the remote Cocos (Keeling) Islands in the Indian Ocean. It's one of the remotest places on Earth, with a population of only 600.

Google Maps

Marine scientists recently conducted a comprehensive survey of debris on the islands, and found a shocking amount of trash - 414 million pieces, weighing 238 tons. About 95% of the debris was plastic. Among this mess of trash were 977,000 shoes and 373,000 toothbrushes. In addition, 25% of the identifiable items were disposable plastics, such as straws, bags, and toothbrushes.

The study was published in the journal Nature and led by Dr. Jennifer Lavers of the University of Tasmania's Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies. Dr. Lavers said remote islands that don't have large human populations to produce trash are an indicator of the amount of plastic debris circulating in the world's oceans.

“Plastic pollution is now ubiquitous in our oceans, and remote islands are an ideal place to get an objective view of the volume of plastic debris now circling the globe,” Lavers said.

Co-author Dr. Annett Finger from Victoria University noted, “As a result of the growth in single-use consumer plastics, it’s estimated there are now 5.25 trillion pieces of ocean plastic debris."

That's staggering. We're addicted to plastic, and the long term ramifications of this addiction on the environment are dire.

Dr. Finger says that “The scale of the problem means cleaning up our oceans is currently not possible, and cleaning beaches once they are polluted with plastic is time consuming, costly, and needs to be regularly repeated as thousands of new pieces of plastic wash up each day. The only viable solution is to reduce plastic production and consumption while improving waste management to stop this material entering our oceans in the first place.”

The statement that cleaning up our oceans isn't possible is frightening. It's time for all of us to act now. Start by:

  • Unless necessary due to disability, skip the plastic straw. Invest in a stainless steel or other reusable straw.
  • Skip the plastic bag. Bring your own shopping tote to the grocery store, and switch to reusable produce bags or skip the bag all together. (be sure to wash your bags often!)
  • Look for ways to avoid buying products with plastic packaging - which is difficult. Buy in bulk whenever possible using a reusable bag/container.
  • Pack your lunch in reusable containers or bags instead of disposable plastics.
  • When stopping at your favorite coffee shop, bring your own insulated mug and skip the disposable cup.
  • Use a refillable water bottle instead of buying plastic bottles.
  • Bring your own containers for take-out food and restaurant leftovers. It may feel awkward, but many restaurants use styrofoam to package these foods.
  • Ditch soda, juice, and other plastic-bottled beverages. It's better for your health and you won't use the extra plastic.
  • Use natural cleaning cloths/scrubbers instead of plastic scrubbers and synthetic sponges.
Get more ideas here and here and here.

As with any change, it takes all of us to do our part. As zero-waste chef Anne Marie Bonneau said, "We don't need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly, we need millions of people doing it imperfectly."

Get started!

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

It's Water-Wise Wednesdays with Frannie the Fish! {The Water Cycle: Part 4 - Surface Water}

This is the fourth part of Frannie’s exploration of the water cycle. Please check out her previous blog on the overview of the water cycle and her deep dives into groundwater and discharge.

Welcome back to Frannie’s deep dive into the water cycle! Today’s focus is surface water. Frannie knows that groundwater refers to water under the ground, so surface water must refer to the bodies of water above the ground, on the surface of the earth. Streams, rivers, lakes, and oceans are all examples of surface water.

Frannie’s experiment with the Awesome Aquifer Kit and her deep dive into the discharge process taught her that surface water is connected to groundwater. Streams and rivers can exchange water droplets that flow with the main current with water droplets that make up the subsurface flow, or flow beneath the streambed.

While Frannie wasn’t surprised by her research into streams and lakes, she was surprised to find surface water hiding in wetlands and glaciers! Wetlands, like marshes and swamps and bogs, are very important locations for groundwater recharge, which Frannie will talk about more later.  Wetlands near the sea or ocean can be flooded and drained by tidal activity and become salt marshes. All kinds of wetlands are incredibly important to prevent flooding and protect water quality.

Frannie has never seen a glacier, but in her research, she learned that she could think of it as a large river of ice that flows downhill under its own weight. When areas have a lot of snowfall in the winter start to warm up, the snow begins to melt and compress itself. If an area receives more snow than it can melt away, the melting snow turns into ice and grows with more cycles of snowfall and partial melting, eventually forming a glacier. Glaciers have an enormous effect on the topography, or layout of the land, in a region as well as its quantity and quality of available water.

Join Frannie next time as she follows the water cycle from rivers, wetlands, and glaciers to the sky. See you then!

Friday, May 31, 2019

BLOG: McEllhiney Lecture Series in Water Well Technology

William A. McEllhiney
The William A. McEllhiney Distinguished Lecture Series in Water Well Technology was established National Ground Water Association, and a groundwater contractor and civil engineer.
in 2000 to foster professional excellence in water well technology. The lecture series honors William A. McEllhiney, the 1948 founding president of the

Each year, a panel of groundwater contractors invites an outstanding groundwater professional to share his or her insights and work experiences with the industry. The Groundwater Foundation is pleased to have Jeffrey Williams, MGWC, CVCLD, as the 2020 McEllhiney Lecturer.

Requests to host the 2020 lecture are now open! If you're interested in hosting a lecture, complete and submit the request form to be considered for a McEllhiney Lecture host.

Jeff Williams
2020 Lecturer: Jeffrey Williams
Jeffrey (Jeff) Williams, MGWC; CVCLD began his career in the groundwater industry with his first full-time job at Spafford and Sons in Jericho, Vermont, in June 1980.  He and his father purchased that company in 1984. Jeff’s experience has been varied both in water well supply and geothermal heat pump operations. Like all water well supply contractors and one involved in a family business, he understands first-hand the challenges of working with a resource that consumers can’t see until it is brought to the surface, the immediate business impacts of regional and national economic conditions, and the critical need to plan for all types of contingencies. He became active in NGWA in 2006 as a member of the Safety Subcommittee and as a director candidate. He served on the NGWA Board and was association president in 2016. Jeff and his wife Carol Ann enjoy boating and family activities.

Williams' lecture for 2020 is titled "Running a Business or Doing a Job: Combining Professional Expertise with Business Savvy."
You are a business owner, or you are responsible for running a company. Have you made the mental transition from viewing your business as a series of individual jobs or as an entity offering a pallet of groundwater services? If you have any plans and goals for diversification, they require capital as well. Kudos to those who have, but this is not an easy journey mentally, financially, or emotionally. If your primary benchmark is how much you are charging per foot or for one water system installation, then you need to start the transition now. How do you begin thinking big picture and setting financial and production goals? What are the benchmarks? How do you manage equipment, time, and human and financial resources better? Are you planning your business model to include training, certifications, licensing and equipment replacement? And how do you bring others involved in the company in this much broader and more goal- oriented transformation. Just getting by isn’t an option—just like hoping to win the lottery is an unrealistic retirement plan. Planning and managing for greater profitability will determine the state of your business in the future.

For more information about the McEllhiney Lecture, including a current schedule of presentations for the 2019 lecturer, Gary Hix, check the Groundwater Foundation's website.