Groundwater Resources

Groundwater is water that infiltrates into the earth and resides in the soil and rock below the earth's surface. Groundwater is a source of potable water and is usually cleaner and more pure than surface waters. Contamination of groundwater or disruption of the hydrologic cycle can have consequences to public health.

Underground areas (i.e., soil and rock) with water-bearing zones are termed aquifers. In many regions of the country, individual aquifers may be separated by layers of low-permeability soil or sediment through which little or no groundwater flows. These layers are termed aquitards. They are often composed of layers of clay, silt, and/or other fine-grained materials that may extend over long distances and can completely isolate an aquifer. Thus, beneath a particular site it, is possible to have multiple aquifers or have groundwater connected to other aquifers located some distance away.

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