MDE Secretary Grumbles and Harford County students celebrate Groundwater Awareness Week at Hickory Elementary School


Maryland Dept. of the Environment
Adrienne Diaczok

Harford County Public Schools
Jillian Lader

Harford County Health Department
William Wiseman


MDE Secretary Grumbles and Harford County students celebrate
Groundwater Awareness Week at Hickory Elementary School

BEL AIR, MD (March 11, 2015) – Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) Secretary Ben Grumbles met with fifth-graders today for a demonstration and discussion on the importance of groundwater in Maryland. The students at Hickory Elementary School in Harford County learned how groundwater is created and used in our daily lives, how it can potentially be contaminated, and what we as citizens of Maryland can do to protect it.

More Information:

In recognition of groundwater being one of the earth’s most valuable and limited natural resources, Maryland  has joined with dozens of other local, state, non and for-profit businesses to highlight and celebrate National Groundwater Awareness Week (March 8-14).

Core facts:

  • 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 may be Maryland’s most precious, unseen resource. More than two million of the state’s citizens use groundwater directly every day and all of us benefit from its connection to clean streams and the Chesapeake Bay. The more each of us can do to protect this invisible, invaluable liquid asset, the healthier and wealthier we’ll be.”

  • Ben Grumbles, Secretary,  Maryland Department of the Environment

“All people by their living habits can protect or harm groundwater, our nation and the world’s most abundant freshwater supply. The first step toward protecting groundwater is to become aware of how it can be contaminated. The second step is to do your part to keep from contaminating it.”

  • Susan Kelly,  Harford County Health Officer

For more images of today’s event visit our Flickr page.

Additional Information:

What is Groundwater?

The Story of Groundwater

Facts about Groundwater

National Groundwater Awareness Week

MDE’s Mission:

Our mission is to protect and restore the quality of Maryland’s air, water, and land resources, while fostering smart growth, a thriving and sustainable economy and healthy communities.


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