Since 2001 the Barrington Area Council of Governments (BACOG) has been researching and exploring ground water. This interview with Janet Agnoletti talks about how the Barrington area can protect their groundwater and the importance of water testing.
What is the purpose of BACOG?
BACOG focuses on regional planning, legislative work, management of development and land use, and the protection of environmental resources. The importance of groundwater was unexplored when I started as an executive director back in 2000.
Our education goes to help people understand where their water comes from and how it’s part of a bigger aquifer system.
Where does the Barrington area’s groundwater come from?
It comes from an interconnected system of shallow aquifers located underground. The Barrington area water does not come from a river, a stream or a lake below ground. Groundwater flows through soil materials that were left by the last glaciers that were here. That helps contribute to the good water quality we have.
What’s the best piece of advice you would give someone who wants to protect and maintain their well?
In all the Barrington communities there are 35,000 people within 80 square miles, nearly all of whom use water from shallow aquifers. Out of that there are 8 municipal wells, 6 of them in shallow aquifers, as well as a handful of deep aquifer wells used for irrigation or other purposes.
The best piece of advice I would give to private well owners is to test for nitrates and bacteria once a year. The homeowner is responsible for the quality of their water even if there is no legal requirement. Some people are aware of it but they don’t test regularly.
Anytime you open the well column or have plumbing work done, make sure to test your water. That activity may introduce bacteria into the well column.
What are some water problems that impact the Barrington area?
Our aquifers are loaded with iron. It won’t hurt you but it stains fixtures and is aesthetically unappealing.
Where can residents test their water?
Residents can test their water through Angel Water and BACOG water testing events. For more information on water testing visit angelwater.com.