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Regional Groundwater Protection Planning Program

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 Illinois.
  • 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.

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