Groundwater

Drops of rain or snow that fall onto the land can seep through the soil and into groundwater, which can become contaminated when pollutants on land seep underground.

FAQ

  • What is groundwater?

    Groundwater is water that can be found under the earth’s surface, stored in the cracks and spaces between particles of soil, sand and rock.

  • How does groundwater become polluted?

    Groundwater can become contaminated when pollutants on the land seep into underground aquifers.

  • How does polluted groundwater affect the Chesapeake Bay?

    Contaminated groundwater can push pollutants into the Chesapeake Bay. The slow movement of polluted groundwater into the Bay can lengthen the “lag-time” between the adoption of a pollution-reducing practice and the positive effect of that practice on a particular river or stream.

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Terms

  • Aquifer

    A body of permeable rock that can contain or transmit groundwater.

  • Bedrock

    Solid rock underlying the earth’s surface.

  • Delmarva Peninsula

    The land separating the Chesapeake Bay from the Atlantic Ocean. The Delmarva Peninsula falls within the states of Delaware (Del-), Maryland (-mar-) and Virginia (-va), from which it gets its name.

  • Groundwater

    Water that is stored under the earth’s surface, in the cracks and spaces between particles of soil, sand and rock.

  • Lag-time

    The span of time between the adoption of a pollution-reducing practice and the visible effects of that practice on a particular waterway.

  • Nutrients

    Chemicals that plants and animals need to grow and survive but, in excess amounts, can harm aquatic environments. Elevated levels of the nutrients nitrogen and phosphorous are the main cause of poor water quality in the Chesapeake Bay.

  • Pesticides

    A general term that describes the chemical substances used to destroy or control insect or plant pests. Many pesticides are manufactured and do not occur naturally in the environment. Others are natural toxins that are extracted from plants and animals.

  • Pollution

    The introduction of harmful substances or products into the environment.

  • Precipitation

    Rain, snow, sleet or hail that falls to the ground.

  • Reservoir

    A natural or artificial place where water is collected or stored for use, especially water for supplying a community, irrigating land and furnishing power.

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