Threats to groundwater discussed
GONZALES — The state’s Department of Environmental Quality is looking for Ascension Parish residents to help keep their local drinking water free of contamination.
Geologists with the agency’s Drinking Water Protection Team held a community meeting Thursday evening at Gonzales City Hall as part of their ongoing campaign, “Protect Drinking Water One Drop at a Time.”
During the meeting, officials outlined the program and provided the public with an opportunity to sign up for a volunteer committee aimed at educating the community on drinking water protection.
The meeting was one of two scheduled for Ascension Parish, with the second set 6 p.m. Nov. 7 at Donaldsonville City Hall, 609 Railroad Ave.
The Drinking Water Protection Program is a statewide program designed to help communities protect their drinking water sources, DEQ geologist Mary Gentry said.
“The campaign seeks to involve private citizens, community groups, water system representatives, local government officials, businesses and industry in the protection of the parish’s waters,” she said, adding that Ascension Parish has “very good groundwater.”
Ascension Parish is served mainly by wells tapping the Southern Hills Aquifer System, one of four major aquifers in the state, she said.
Geologist Tiffani Cravens said the volunteer committees work within their communities to educate about conservation and protecting drinking water from contamination through the dumping of toxic chemicals or other pollutants.
“We rely on input from our committees and from their communities on how to better keep drinking water clean,” she said.
Protecting drinking water has benefits not only to health, Gentry said, but to the local economy and the environment.
“No one wants to live in an area where the drinking water is contaminated,” she said.
One way government can help is by adopting ordinances regarding protection of drinking water sources, Gentry said.
“As far as we know, no government entities here have an ordinance like this in place,” she said, adding that DEQ plans to meet with parish government on the matter in the near future.
For more information, go to http://www.deq.louisiana.gov/AEPs