DCNR Announces Improvements to Pennsylvania Groundwater Information System

HARRISBURG, Pa. – To mark National Groundwater Awareness Week, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn yesterday announced some improvements to the Pennsylvania Groundwater Information System (PaGWIS).

“As the repository of half a million water well records, PaGWIS continues to grow and function as an important source of groundwater data,” Dunn said. “The database also includes a new addition of more than 1,600 springs found in the commonwealth.”

Dunn noted the system can be useful to homeowners looking to find a record of a water well that was drilled before they purchased their home, with information including location, well construction data, and groundwater and geological information. The information also could be used by private well drillers to understand the potential for new groundwater sources.

PaGWIS does not contain water quality information, nor any information on public water supply wells.

The Pennsylvania Geological Survey starting collecting well records from water well drillers on paper in 1965. The updated, online version now includes improved search tools, data packages and report formats.

Groundwater fills cracks, voids and other openings in soil, sand, and bedrock. Homes with private wells use it as a source of drinking water, and most groundwater flows directly into streams, rivers and lakes from beneath. Read The Geology of Pennsylvania’s Groundwater for more information.

Some tips to protect groundwater:

– If you own a water well, have it tested yearly.
– Be careful with herbicides, pesticides and fertilizer.
– Don’t dispose of substances by dumping on ground, down the drain or flushing. Contact a local waste authority about proper disposal.
– Have your septic tank serviced regularly.

Protection and maintenance of private wells in Pennsylvania is the responsibility of the homeowner. DCNR offers some information on private water well construction and abandonment.

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