Evaluating the Vulnerability of Bored and Driven Wells in a Shallow Unconfined Aquifer
Shallow unconfined aquifers are the only source of water for private wells in some rural areas. The Oak Openings region of Ohio is one such location. Wells are usually bored or driven in shallow aquifers and are more susceptible to contamination caused by human activities on the surface. To provide better protection for consumers developing shallow wells, local health departments have doubled the required minimum 50 feet distance for isolation from sources of contamination. The potential for contamination still exists, however. Over a two year period, 42 wells were tested in the region for a large suite of pesticides and inorganic chemicals. Results showed little evidence of persistent contamination. Data provided evidence, however, indicating that these wells are vulnerable. Sodium and chloride concentrations were higher in wells at households with water softeners, illustrating the potential for contaminant transport even with increased isolation distances. To ensure public health, regular monitoring of shallow wells is recommended.