Every day, New Jersey's citizens make decisions that can result either in groundwater protection or pollution. Daily actions ranging from changing the oil in the family car to using a household cleaner to choosing a location for a new septic system can all have an effect on the quality of ground water that flows from the state's aquifers.
While the groundwater resource is vast, it is also increasingly vulnerable. Overuse is but one threat to New Jersey's groundwater. Concerns about preserving our precious groundwater resource are growing as contaminated water supplies have been discovered in many parts of the state.
Much of the groundwater contamination is a result of decades of improper disposal of chemical hazardous wastes - the legacy of the state's industrialized past. The disposal of household trash in unlined landfills that were little more than holes in the ground with no barriers to protect their contents from leaching also played a role in groundwater contamination.
It is also important to realize that a large percentage of ground water contamination results from nonpoint source pollution, or "pointless pollution," which comes from everyday activities such as littering, wrongful disposal of household hazardous products, changing motor oil, fertilizing lawns and farmland, washing cars, overuse of pesticide and de-icing.
How We Can Help
- Automobile - Recycle crankcase oil and repair engine leaks to keep oil from draining onto streets, driveways and parking lots. Never dump oil or chemicals onto the ground. If engine oil is changed at home, take the used oil to your local oil collection site. Call the Division of Solid Waste Management at 609-530-8593 for more information.
- Household Hazardous Wastes and Septic Systems - Keep household products containing toxic chemicals, such as paint thinners, oven cleaners, and mothballs, out of public sewers and septic systems by not flushing them down the drain. Contact your local government to obtain information on the local household hazardous waste collection programs that can properly dispose of these wastes.
- Pesticides / Fertilizers - Follow the directions carefully when using and disposing pesticides, fertilizers, and other products that are harmful to humans and animals.
- Solid Waste Reduction - Reduce household and office waste to help minimize our tremendous dependence on landfills. Waste from landfills can pollute both ground and surface water, so becoming involved in local recycling programs will help reduce the amount of waste we produce.
- Underground Storage Tanks - If you own an underground storage tank to store gasoline, heating oil, or pesticide, make sure that it's tested periodically. To prevent leaks, install storage systems of good quality.