What Is the Michigan Wellhead Protection Program?
First, it is important to determine the area which contributes groundwater to the public water wells. Communities will hire a consulting firm to do a thorough review of the groundwater that is supplying the drinking water wells. This study will determine how fast the groundwater is flowing and in what direction the groundwater is flowing. This area is called the Wellhead Protection Area (WHPA). An example of a WHPA is included. At the edge of this area, it would
take ten years for contamination to reach the community wells. This is the area that communities will manage and protect. Steps to manage and protect this area include:
What Is Water?
Water is an odorless, tasteless, colorless liquid made up of hydrogen and oxygen. Water is a necessary component of human survival and is a vital part of Michigan’s economy. In fact, Michigan is home to approximately 20% of the Earth’s usable fresh water. There are two types of water, groundwater and surface water.
➻ GROUNDWATER is water that is underground in cracks and spaces in the soil, sand and rocks.
➻ SURFACEWATER is water that is above the surface of the land (i.e. lakes, rivers, streams).
Water, Water, A Continuous Cycle
Water moves through a continuous cycle known as theWater Cycle. TheWater Cycle is the paths that water takes through its various states as it moves throughout the atmosphere. First, a vapor becomes a liquid through condensation. Second, the liquid (rain, snow, sleet) falls to the ground through precipitation. Third, the water either seeps into the ground, forming groundwater or it runs off the surface of the land, forming surface water. Finally, the liquid converts back into a vapor and evaporates up into the atmosphere through evaporation.
What Is Groundwater?
Groundwater fills the small spaces between rock particles (sand, gravel,
etc.) or cracks in solid rock. Rain, melting snow, or surface water becomes groundwater by seeping into the ground and filling these spaces. An aquifer is any type of geologic material, such as sand or sandstone, which can supply water to wells or springs. Groundwater, which supplies wells, often comes from within a short distance (a few miles) of the well. How fast the groundwater moves depends on how much the well is pumped and what type of rock particles or bedrock it is moving through.