Jefferson County, Colo. — Though it doesn’t always feel like it during the cold, snowy winters, Colorado’s climate is a relatively dry one, with limited water resources. This Groundwater Awareness Week (March 10-16, 2019), Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) wants to remind county residents that our water is precious, finite and worth protecting.
In Jefferson County, groundwater is a significant source of our water supply, particularly for Jefferson County residents who get their water from groundwater wells. When it rains or snows, the precipitation replenishes the groundwater supply, but it’s not a one-to-one match. Less than one inch of the annual average 15 inches of precipitation goes back into the groundwater system, for a variety of reasons, including the nature of our mountain geology, the actual water content of snow, evaporation, what is absorbed by vegetation among many other factors.
Because our groundwater supply is limited, it’s important to protect what we have from contamination from chemicals like fertilizers, pesticides and those used in mining and construction, as well as from onsite wastewater treatment, or septic, systems. If groundwater is contaminated, it can lead to serious health complications, running the gamut from digestive problems to reproductive complications and nervous system disorders. Contamination from some germs in groundwater can also lead to serious diseases, like E coli, Salmonella, Norovirus and more.
“In Jefferson County, especially our mountain communities, we know that water — both how much we have and how to protect its quality — is top of mind,” said Jim Rada, Director of Environmental Health Services at JCPH. “We can’t control the amount of rainfall we receive, but we can control the steps we take to protect what we have. That means testing our well water and conserving what we can.”
If you live on a property that relies on water from a private well, it’s important to take steps to protect yourself and your loved ones from contaminated water systems by testing your water annually. Public water systems go through rigorous testing and treatment, but if you own a private well, it’s your responsibility to maintain your water quality. Testing bottles and information is available by visiting the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Laboratory website or calling CDPHE at 303-692-3048. Information on how to test and where to return your test bottle is available by visiting https://www.jeffco.us/2401/Well-Water-Systems or calling Jefferson County Public Health at 303-271-5700 for water well testing and sample drop off information.
Whether you use public or private water, though, you can help protect Jefferson County and Colorado’s limited groundwater supply by pledging to make a change. Learn how you can save water and take the pledge to “Do More with Less!” at http://chng.it/8LwgjqZQmt.
About Jefferson County Public Health
Public health is what we as a society do collectively to prevent illness and premature death and promote health in our neighborhoods and communities. Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) is committed to promoting and protecting health across the lifespan through prevention, education and partnerships for all people. To learn more about JCPH, visit https://www.jeffco.us/public-health. You can also follow JCPH on Twitter @JeffcoPH, Instagram @JeffcoPH and Facebook @jeffcopublichealth.