An Overview of Ground Water and Surface Water Interactions
The planet earth is the only planet in our solar system (that we know of!) to have water in its liquid form. Water on the earth is kept in two unique but related places. Water can either be found as surface water or ground water.
These two types of water are not actually seperate, but can be thought as of one holistic entity. Both types of water are linked by the hydrologic cycle.
Surface water is any water that is found on the surface of the earth. This contains fresh or salt water found in lakes, streams, oceans, ponds, rivers, channels or any other area on the surface of the earth. Surface water is hardly ever, if ever, contaminant free! Fecal material from animals, as well as microbes, carried into these water supplies by runoff water contaminate these sources.
Ground water is any water found under the surface of the earth. This water is contained in spaces between soil, rocks or contained in underground resovoirs called aquifers. As water travels through the ground it becomes naturally filtered by traveling through the various layers of sediment on its way to an aquifer.
Surface water is balanced by precipitation, runoff, evaporation and other processes. Ground water is continuously balanced by percolation, recharge and other processes.
Neiter type of water is free of harmful bacteria. All of these bacteria can be unintentionally added to our drinking water (either surface or ground) by sewage leaks, animal waste, pollution as well as various other sources. Most commonly surface water is more contaminated than ground water.These bacteria can have very adverse effects on humans!