Dec 07, 2006

Indiana City Given Groundwater Guardian Status Again

Valparaiso, Ind., has been named a Groundwater Guardian Community for the third year in a row for its efforts to protect local groundwater supplies.

The city earned the designation from the Groundwater Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to education and motivating the public to care about groundwater. The organization was founded in 1985 and has participants in 152 communities in 33 states and one Canadian province.

Daryl Brown, the water department wellhead protection administrator, told The NWI Times that the department was involved in three projects this year to earn the guardian title.

Two of the projects are ongoing efforts. One supports local household hazardous waste collections by distributing information fliers with the water bills, and the other celebrates National Drinking Water Week.

The third project established new legal boundaries of the city's wellhead protection zone. A hired consultant looked at the city's water usage and determined the effects of increased pumping of water from the ground on surrounding water supply.

The result was that the city designated a larger area that must be protected from contamination. More signs were posted, and descriptions of the area were filed with the county, the hazardous materials team and the Fire Department to easily notify them when a spill occurs in the zone.

Brown told the NWI Times that his department is already is looking at projects for next year, such as developing a brochure to describe the type of beneficial plants that can be used in rain gardens.

Valparaiso is one of only three communities in the state to participate in the Groundwater Guardian program. The city was awarded the designation last month during the foundation's national conference in East Lansing, Mich.