Sources and Effects of Groundwater Pollution


Have you ever come across water that has a bad odor or a different taste? If so you know you cannot even desire using that water. But have you ever thought of what led to that bad odor? For water to have that bad smell it is usually due to groundwater pollution also known as groundwater contamination. This usually happens when contaminants or pollutants are able to find access to the groundwater. In most cases, this type of water pollution always happens naturally.

But there are other factors that lead to groundwater pollution. They include:

  • Sewage
  • Pesticides and fertilizers
  • Industrial outflows
  • Sanitation systems

The above are some of the factors or causes of groundwater pollution. Therefore, in this article, you are going to understand more about groundwater pollution, causes or sources, and effects.

Definition of Groundwater Pollution

Groundwater pollution is a worldwide epidemic. This is because most of the water used by us is found in the ground. This makes groundwater vulnerable to pollutants and contaminants leading to adverse effects when consumed by human beings. Pipeline leakages, sewage, industrial outflows are some examples of causes that lead to groundwater pollution. In addition, human waste also leads to groundwater pollution.

For information, many countries in the world have undergone this calamity endangering the lives of people where such situations occur. Apart from endangering life groundwater pollution lead to water-borne diseases.

Sources of Groundwater Pollution

There are many sources of groundwater pollution. But most of these sources are not natural but human-made. If human involvement in groundwater pollution reduces then we could be suffering from less groundwater pollution globally. The following are sources of groundwater pollution.

  • Natural Sources
  • Sewage
  • Farming
  • Industrial outflows
  • Fracking
  • Pipeline Leakages
  • Waste Dumping
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The above are some sources you need to know in detail.

Natural Sources

Natural groundwater pollution occurs when the geological process occurs. This is when a body of permeable rock transmits groundwater also known as aquifer has organic material that leads to anaerobic process. When this occurs substance such as arsenic is released to the groundwater making the water unfit for human consumption. Furthermore, arsenic contains a high percentage of iron a metal that has effects on humans.

In addition, other substances such as high amounts of fluoride in groundwater lead to health effects such as dental fluorosis. Lack of calcium in groundwater always leads to an increase in amounts of fluoride.

Sewage Systems

Infrastructure development is a key aspect in cities. If you leave in a city that is poorly developed infrastructure wise, then there are high chances of poor drainage systems. This includes sewage systems. Through sewage systems leaks the contaminants are able to find their way to the groundwater.

Whether treated or untreated waste they have adverse effects when the groundwater is consumed by people. Additionally, treated sewage has chemicals that are harmful to humans.


I know this sounds too general but the use of pesticides and fertilizers is also another source of groundwater pollution. If you always use industrially manufactured fertilizers, they all contain nitrates.

A substance that affects living organisms in the soil and when penetrates to the groundwater and consumed by us it will lead to health complications. Also, the use of pesticides is a source of this type of pollution. Through leaching, the pesticide may find its ways to the groundwater.

Industrial Outflows

There has a been a rapid increase in industries in recent years. But do you know the disadvantages of these industries to groundwater? Most of the effluents released by these industries are harmful. And when they are able to penetrate to the groundwater they contaminate the water due to the effluents having high acidic levels.

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This reduces the groundwater ph. Therefore, industrial outflows are dangerous when leaks happen. However, not only leaks do happen but also some of the industries release the effluents to the soil or other water bodies.


Also known as hydraulic fracturing is a common way of drilling wells in some of the countries in the world. Some of the countries include the USA. Through the use of this method, the groundwater is at high risk of being polluted. This is because a pressurized liquid is used when fracking. This liquid will find its way to the water contaminating it.

Pipeline Leakages

Pipelines transport different petroleum products to different locations. In most cases, pipelines are constructed on the land. This makes the soil vulnerable when spills happen. Petroleum products contain benzene and other soluble hydrocarbons. Chemicals that are very harmful to humans when they mix with groundwater.

Waste Dumping

Currently, illegal waste dumping is a global menace. But have you ever thought of effects of waste dumping? Apart from air and land pollution, the contaminants are able to penetrate to through the ground to and affect the groundwater.

Effects of Groundwater Pollution

All living organisms are threatened by groundwater pollution. It doesn’t affect humans or plants alone but cuts across. So, the following are some of the effects of groundwater pollution.

Lack of Enough Drinking Water

Due to groundwater pollution, many countries are having challenges finding clean drinking water. These effects are adverse because people are not able to drink clean water which leads to health complications.

Waterborne Diseases

When groundwater is polluted or contaminated it may lead to waterborne diseases. For example, in Bangladesh World Health Organization found out that the groundwater is polluted which leads to increase of waterborne diseases annually. Therefore, groundwater pollution may lead to waterborne diseases to humans and possibly lead to death.

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Dental Fluorosis

This is a dental problem where the teeth become brown in color. This usually due to high amounts of fluoride in water. High amounts of fluoride in groundwater is due to lack of calcium in the water. This is one of the effects caused by pollution of the groundwater.


Lack of well-built sewerage systems may lead to contamination of groundwater causing Hepatitis. This is because human waste contaminates the groundwater. And for your information, Hepatitis is a disease that affects the liver. So, when drilling your well ensure it is positioned correctly to avoid such instances.

Valueless Land

No one can leave or buy land where there is no clean water for drinking and home use. Consequently, if your land is situated in a location where groundwater pollution is peak then the value will reduce. This because plants, animals, and people cannot survive in this land.

Lack of Clean Water for Industries

Most of the industries release effluents that cause groundwater pollution. At long last, some of these industries suffer from a lack of clean water. Without clean water, no production can go on. Leading to the closure of the industries and loss of jobs.

Final Verdict

Groundwater pollution has enormous effects on the economy, human life, plant life, and animal life. So, the effects of this type of pollution cut across all people. But the sources that are man-made should reduce in order to decrease the amounts of groundwater pollution around the globe.

In addition, tough legislation should be enacted in order to punish those who promote this type of pollution. Also, you should be cautious of water you drink or use for your daily activities. Ensure you treat the water always.

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