Southern Groundwater Protection Planning Committee (Madison, Monroe, St. Clair, and Randolph counties)
The Southern Groundwater Protection Planning Committee has assessed their efforts, and the following provides a summary of these actions:
- Well Sealing Campaign - The Southern Committee has continued
purchasing bentonite to assist in the
sealing of private water wells in conjunction with the Water Well Abandonment Program
launched by IDA and the Madison County Soil and Water Conservation District. The well
sealing materials are provided at no cost to program participants in the four-county
region. There is an emphasis placed on the abandoned wells located within the immediate
proximity of a community water supply well. In addition, the use of the bentonite is
also available for sinkhole stabilization projects, which in turn benefit both surface
and groundwater quality within portions of the karst-terrain area of southwestern
- Well Screening Effort - The Southern Committee purchased immunoassay
kits to test for the occurrence
of pesticides in private well water. The program targets farmers and rural homeowners
that live in areas that are predominately agricultural land. The program is biannual
and occurs in the fall and spring to coincide with the time farmers are planting and
fertilizing. Private well water samples will be screened for triazines (of which
atrazine is a common form) using immunoassay-testing methods. Atrazine is a common
herbicide used in the control of grasses and broadleaf weeds in crops. It is
anticipated that testing for nitrate, coliform, and the preceding pesticides will give
most homeowners the ability to know more about their source of drinking water. In
addition, the Madison County Health Department laboratory conducts all screenings,
and the Southern Committee is collating the results for review and use for future
educational planning efforts.
- Water Stewardship Project - The Southern Committee co-sponsores a
Water Stewardship Festival. The fourth
annual 2007 event involved 35 fifth-grade teachers and more than 1,000 fifth-grade
students at Lewis and Clark Community College in Godfrey, Illinois. This was preceded
by a teacher-training workshop that helped prepare the teachers to facilitate the
information of the project. The objectives of the event were to promote general
knowledge about water ecology and environmental education, inform students and
educators about resources available at the State and regional levels which support
clean water, educate students about the science of water quality and water ecology,
and promote knowledge about the relationship of water quality and health.
- Groundwater Protection Field Day - In 2007, over 50 participants
attended a groundwater protection field day at
the Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville Environmental Resource Training Center
in Madison County. The field day focused on groundwater protection, with specific
emphasis placed on abandonment of wells not actively being used. This event provided
an overview of the current local initiatives to protect groundwater by educating the
public of the potential problems associated with wells that are in disrepair. These
issues include both groundwater contamination and physical injury due to an open hole.
The event was capped with the sealing of a water well by a licensed water well driller.
- Groundwater Lending Library - The Southern Committee has an
ongoing goal of encouraging local stakeholders
to become more aware of, and active in, groundwater protection strategies throughout
the Southern Region. To this end, an informational campaign continues to collect and
develop materials regarding groundwater protection and education programs to be
utilized by various governmental and local agencies. As part of the lending library,
the Committee has incorporated a display board that can be used by members and loaned
to various local agencies to support groundwater protection/educational outreach
efforts at area conferences, community functions, and county fairs.
- The Southern Committee Networking Survey - The Southern Committee
determined a need for a networking survey that would
be used as a "who-to-call" directory. The survey is a collection of names, employers,
and job titles for all the current members and advisors of the Southern Committee.
This directory was provided to Committee members so that they would be able to utilize
the directory to find the best resource or person to address these issues.