The Kentucky Division of Water and the Kentucky Geological Survey are putting an emphasis on groundwater protection as part of a national observance tomorrow: the annual Protect Your Groundwater Day.

Groundwater is exactly what it sounds like…it’s the water that’s on the ground, in rock crevices, or that flows into streams or rivers. It’s also essential to the drinking water for many communities, whether through wells or springs.

To raise awareness about the importance of groundwater, the Kentucky Division of Water will spend Protect Your Groundwater Day sampling wells in the Green River Watershed. This is part of a statewide study to determine whether private wells are being affected by bacteria.

Division of Water groundwater supervisor David Jackson says areas of Kentucky with Karst formations—like the areas south of Louisville—are more susceptible to contamination.

“The limestone has a tendency to dissolve and form big channels, and surface contamination can easily get into the groundwater system,” he said. “So bacteria can easily enter the system as well.”

Jackson says Kentuckians need to be aware how their actions can affect the groundwater.

“If we’re out there changing our oil in the car, we want to make sure that we don’t pour it down the drains or pour it on the ground or pour it down a sinkhole,” he said. “We want to collect it and take it to a proper recycling center, so there’s not a chance that our groundwater can be contaminated by activities like that.”

The Kentucky Geological Survey will also participate, and conduct activities in the Cane Run Watershed to educate residents about ways to protect the groundwater.