NGWA believes that our nation’s water wells must be supported in any upcoming infrastructure legislation that advances through Congress. The United States has over 15 million private water wells serving over 40 million people. These water wells are largely located in rural, small, and underserved communities.
The last two years have seen a flurry of wide-ranging legislation concerning PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) from Capitol Hill and state legislatures. NGWA has been a key resource on not only providing the sound science to inform policymakers about these “forever chemicals,” but also providing solutions that our members’ expertise can provide to ensure our groundwater resources are safe and reliable.
Mandatory hook-up is the process by which states, municipalities, or local water authorities require private homeowners to connect to a public waterline and disconnect from a water well or deny the right of the homeowner to drill a water well. Mandatory hook-up laws are almost entirely a local issue and take many forms across the country, such as through state legislation or local building codes.
More and more pressure is being placed on our nation’s groundwater resources — for drinking, agriculture, etc. — and in many cases the demand is outweighing the rate in which it is recharged. In some cases, aquifer recharge is dependent on farmers overirrigating their crops, placing the burden of recharge on inefficient practices and methods. Managed aquifer recharge is a key component to groundwater management and necessary to ensure our groundwater resources remain a reliable source of water for generations to come.
In recent years, the USGS’s focus on groundwater has decreased. Unfortunately, much of the data and resources groundwater professionals have come to rely upon have either gone away completely or their funding has been significantly reduced. NGWA supports the USGS focus on groundwater and would like to see its focus on groundwater data increase, rather than decrease, over time.
Since the SCOTUS ruling in this case, NGWA has been working with partner organizations and the EPA to draft “real-world” guidance to implement the decision. In January 2021, EPA published its initial guidance, which NGWA assessed as too vague and without sufficient input from groundwater stakeholders. In July, NGWA sent a letter to the EPA urging them to rescind the current guidance and work with stakeholders on producing a more productive and field-friendly guidance document.