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Keeping It Clean: A Comparison of State-Level Groundwater Quality Protection Programs
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Rather than assess the efficacy of a specific groundwater quality program, this research explored what it means to protect groundwater quality at the state level. Specifically, it examined how groundwater quality protection as a broader goal was translated into actions and management at the state level, and how those actions and management approaches were carried out. The management approaches and programs in three different states in the U.S. were explored in detail, and then compared. The comparison was not performed in order to rank programs, merely to discern what efforts are being taken in the U.S. today. The states selected were Wisconsin, Arizona and Florida. The aim in using these three states was to try to find out the average approaches and middle-of-the-road programs being relied on today to protect groundwater quality. These three states were chosen because each had a population with a strong reliance on groundwater as the primary source of drinking water. However, none had such a strong interest that it might have extreme programs. The research reflected several interesting pieces of information, though it ultimately raised more questions about information sharing and developing programs. Most notable, was the lack of data collected, tracked and analyzed by state agencies. Also, all of the states allocated authority differently among agencies, and also interacted with their respective health departments to varying degrees. Last, that without adopting a precautionary approach, states could take more advantage of opportunities to get ahead of groundwater contamination problems by educating citizens and working more closely with industries, and imposing more oversight at the beginning of permitting processes for different types of land uses that are known to impact groundwater. These efforts are already successful with the agricultural industry.
Hawkins, Chelsea A. (2016). Keeping It Clean: A Comparison of State-Level Groundwater Quality Protection Programs. Master's thesis, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from