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Groundwater and Public Health: The Fundamentals Webinar

Thursday, June 24, 2021, 10 a.m. ET


While not known to be transmitted in groundwater, COVID-19 has brought the issue of public health to the forefront of our everyday activities. Groundwater provides slightly more than 40 percent of our drinking water supplies — always a public health concern in one form or another. Those who work in the groundwater industry should be prepared to respond to questions from their customers about their wells and water supply, as well as staying abreast of occurrences affecting groundwater quality and quantity on both a local and national scale. This prerecorded offering is designed to share information about the groundwater resource and its occurrence and vulnerabilities thus highlighting the well’s need for homeowner and professional attention. It is directed to all who wish or need to keep informed about issues related to the resource and responsibly answer well owners’ questions.

Topics covered

Groundwater overview — presented by William Alley, Ph.D.

  • Hydrologic cycle
  • Groundwater availability
  • Groundwater sustainability

Private wells — presented by Steven Wilson and Karen Kinsella, Ph.D.

  • Wellhead protection (from siting to monitoring areas near the wellhead)
  • Water testing — routine monitoring and when changes are noted
  • Well maintenance
  • Water quality issues — health vs. aesthetics.

These topics can set the stage for other discussions on responsible land use planning, agricultural challenges related to withdrawals, pesticides, and nitrates in addition to emerging contaminants and available reference materials.

Q&A time offered following the webinar broadcast...

We will be answering questions on The Groundwater Foundation Twitter account from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. (noon) ET on Thursday, June 24, 2021 following the broadcast of this webinar. To submit a question, tag @GroundwaterFdn and use hashtag #GroundwaterandPublicHealth.

Target audience

  • Elementary, middle, and high school educators
  • Environmental outreach professionals
  • Public health officials
  • State and local regulatory officials
  • Private industry
  • Resource conservation district personnel
  • Water testing laboratory personnel
  • Water well contractors and pump installers.

Continuing education credit

This offering has been approved by Nebraska DHHS Water Well Standards for one hour of continuing education credit for water well contractors. Those who will use this credit to fulfill their Nebraska licensure requirement must indicate their license number when registering.


There is no charge to attend this webinar, but preregistration is required and closes at 11:59 p.m. ET on June 23, 2021.


Click here to register.

Note to those attending this webinar to fulfill their Nebraska licensure requirement — you must indicate your license number when registering.

Participating in the webinar

The time for this webinar is shown in Eastern Time (ET) — click here to view the time in your time zone. After registering for this event, you will receive a confirmation email acknowledging your registration that also contains instructions for accessing the event.

About the presenters

William M. Alley, Ph.D., is director of science and technology for the National Ground Water Association. Previously, he served as chief, office of groundwater for the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) for almost two decades. Alley has published more than 100 scientific publications, and coauthored with his wife, Rosemarie, High and Dry: Meeting the Challenges of the World’s Growing Dependence on Groundwater. Among other awards, Alley received the USGS Shoemaker Award for Lifetime Achievement in Communication and the Meritorious Presidential Rank Award. He holds a B.S. in geological engineering from the Colorado School of Mines, an M.S. in hydrogeology from Stanford University, and a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University.

Karen Kinsella, Ph.D., is a biogeochemist at GZA GeoEnvironmental Inc. in Glastonbury, Connecticut. She has more than 40 years’ experience in the agricultural, analytical, construction, energy, environmental, and radionuclide sectors. Her consulting practice focuses on applying biochemical and geochemical processes for active remediation and natural attenuation of soil and groundwater contaminants and on the ability to effectively explain complex concepts to nonscientists. In addition, Kinsella has taught chemistry and environmental science at the secondary school level. She holds an M.S. in chemistry from Central Connecticut State University and a Ph.D. in soil chemistry and microbiology from the University of Connecticut.

Steve Wilson is a groundwater hydrologist at the Illinois State Water Survey at the University of Illinois. He has been involved in numerous groundwater assessment projects dealing with both groundwater quantity and quality issues. Wilson manages, which provides free resources and support for small water and wastewater system operators, and, a free online class and education program for private well owners and very small water systems. He holds a B.S. in ag engineering and an M.S. in civil engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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