Major sources of groundwater contamination include landfills, buried septic tanks, hazardous waste systems, pesticides, and synthetic fertilizers. A variety of measures can be taken to reduce the threat from these sources of contamination, such as properly sealing landfills, disposing properly of hazardous waste, and monitoring buried septic systems for leaks. However, the most effective way of all to prevent groundwater contamination is to reduce our need for the things that lead to contamination in the first place. Thus reducing agriculture’s reliance on synthetic fertilizers and pesticides would be a big step toward protecting our groundwater, as would reducing waste so that landfills and hazardous waste disposal sites become less necessary.
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