Groundwater Connection

Water is constantly moving between surface water and ground water. In rivers, water can either be discharged from the ground and up well into a river or it can infiltrate into the ground through the streambed.  When groundwater levels are higher than surface water levels, water flows upward from the ground layers to rivers and streams. Otherwise, when groundwater levels are lower than surface waters, water from streams flows downward and recharges the aquifer.  

Water that falls on land and seeps into the ground also recharges the aquifer. Unfortunately, due to conventional development practices, stormwater runoff is common in our region. Instead of going down into the ground, water runs off across the landscape of roofs, short-rooted lawns, parking lots and roadways. This stormwater runoff picks up pollutants on the landscape, such as lawn fertilizer, dog poop and road salt, and eventually flows into storm drains or detention basins that empty into waterways without being treated.  

Lower Des Plaines river

As water soaks into the ground, it can take pollutants like chloride from road salt or nitrates from fertilizer with it. These pollutants can contaminate groundwater aquifers that supply drinking water to many people in the region. 

Keep rainwater clean. Minimizing pollutants by picking up pet waste, using fertilizers according to pack instructions (or reducing the use of fertilizers in general), being Salt Smart or landscaping your yard with natives can help to keep stormwater clean as it flows over the landscape.  

Soak rainwater in. Deep-rooted native plants and rain gardens help to infiltrate water into the ground and reduce stormwater runoff. Green infrastructure, like permeable pavement, also allows more rainwater to soak into the ground and replenish groundwater.  


Maintain Your Septic System to Save Money and Protect the Environment

Avoid big bills, nasty backups, and environmental harm by keeping your septic system in good shape! You can dodge most septic system issues with simple, everyday practices and periodic maintenance.