Groundwater is an essential source of water for many households in Yass Valley. Groundwater is water that is sourced from below the earth’s surface and is accessed by drilling a bore into underground water storages known as aquifers.
NSW Health recommends that groundwater is not used for drinking, cooking and personal hygiene (including cleaning teeth and bathing) without testing and appropriate treatment including disinfection.
Potable water that is treated to remove pathogens should always be the first choice for your drinking water. However, bore water can be used for irrigation, livestock watering, garden watering and for domestic uses such as flushing toilets and clothes washing.
In some circumstances and with adequate testing and treatment, it may be suitable for drinking, cooking, filling swimming pools and watering edible plants. If a household is using bore water it is recommended that they become familiar with the quality of the water by taking a sample of the bore water and having it tested to ensure that it is not contaminated and is safe to use. It is recommended that bore water used for household purposes such as drinking, food preparation and personal hygiene meet NSW Private Water Supply guidelines.
What are the risks?
Groundwater is generally a safe and reliable source of water, however, it may become contaminated from outside sources. Groundwater contamination can persist for a long time and spread from the original source of contamination, over a large area underground. Groundwater in rural areas can become contaminated from a range of sources, such as:
- Sewage from On-site Sewage Management Systems (OSSMs).
- Animal waste.
- Fertilisers and pesticides from agricultural practices.
- Polluted stormwater.
- Seepage from rubbish tips and other chemicals.
- Industrial waste.
The health risks associated with contaminated bores varies depending on the concentration and type of contaminants present.
How do I protect my bore?
- Keeping septic tanks and other On-site Sewage Management Systems well maintained;
- Avoid excessive use and spills of chemicals and fertilizers;
- Protect bores from livestock access; &
- Ensure the bore is sealed to prevent contaminated surface water from entering.