FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
MDE Secretary Summers and Howard County students celebrate Groundwater Awareness Week at Dunloggin Middle School
(ELLICOTT CITY, MD) March 13, 2014 – Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) Secretary Robert M. Summers met with Howard County eighth-graders today for a demonstration and discussion on the importance of groundwater in Maryland. The students at Dunloggin Middle School in Ellicott City learned how groundwater is used, how it can potentially be contaminated and what we as citizens of Maryland can do to protect it. After the Secretary’s groundwater demonstration, the students provided a tour of the school’s wetlands project.
In recognition of groundwater being one of the earth’s most valuable and limited natural resources, Governor Martin O’Malley has joined with dozens of other local, state, non-profit organizations and businesses to highlight and celebrate National Groundwater Awareness Week. Governor O’Malley proclaimed March 9 through 15 as Maryland Groundwater Awareness Week.
Dunloggin’s wetland creation and streamshed project is a multi-year, ongoing project for science classes and seventh-grade service-learning projects devoted to the clean-up, restoration and building of outdoor wetlands to help the Chesapeake Bay.
The school is also a participant in DNR’s Explore and Restore Your SchoolShed Initiative. The program encourages schools to develop activities and lesson plans that introduce students to stream stewardship. Through this statewide partnership, schools adopt the tributaries on or near their property and turn their restoration into a learning experience. More than 110 teachers in 22 counties are now participating.
Dunloggin is certified as a Maryland Green School and is one of six U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbons School in Maryland.
- Groundwater originates as rain that soaks into the ground, which absorbs it like a sponge. Water that soaks into the ground is filtered as it passes through various layers of sand, clay or rock and remains stored underground in geologic formations called aquifers until it is pumped out or naturally flows into springs, streams, rivers or the Chesapeake Bay.
- Every day, Americans use 79.6 billion gallons of fresh groundwater for public and private use, including for irrigation, livestock, manufacturing, mining and more.
- Groundwater is vulnerable to pollution by anything we spill or dispose of on or under the ground, including waste from livestock, drainage from abandoned mines, salted roads, agricultural and industrial areas. Homeowners also contribute to groundwater contamination by dumping household chemicals down the drain if they have a septic system or by pouring them on the ground.
- Groundwater contaminated with bacteria, chemicals, pesticides, gasoline or oil can result in serious human health problems. Those who consume contaminated groundwater may suffer bacterial diseases, nervous system disorders, liver or kidney failure, cancer or other ailments depending on the type and level of contamination.
- Groundwater can be protected by making simple changes to our everyday activities such as using less water and disposing of hazardous materials and chemicals correctly. We can also protect groundwater and our health by maintaining septic systems according to manufacturer standards and having annual check-ups for water wells.
“Groundwater is a precious and finite natural resource that is essential to the well-being of all Marylanders. Too often, groundwater is taken for granted because it cannot be seen. But everyone should know that a clean and abundant supply of groundwater is crucial to virtually every aspect of our lives. When we keep our groundwater clean we help to protect and restore our waterways, including the Chesapeake Bay. Clean water and a healthy economy go hand in hand. I encourage every citizen to do their part to protect Maryland’s groundwater.”
– Robert M. Summers, Secretary, Maryland Department of the Environment
For more images of today’s event visit our Flickr page.
The Story of Groundwater
Facts about Groundwater
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