Published on: 24.1.2022

Information produced by Finnish Environment Institute

Protecting groundwaters is vital

Protecting groundwaters is vital because once contaminated, groundwater is extremely difficult to remediate. We can all do our share in looking after groundwaters.

A leaking oil tank or broken sewer can be a serious threat to groundwater. At worst, water in wells can be contaminated across a large area, and soil must be replaced and remediated.

Even a small act of carelessness can compromise groundwater quality. Households must make sure that no oils or solvents are spilled or leaked into the soil. Rather than washing your car in your yard, you should take it to a designated car washing point where the dirty water is led to a wastewater sewer through sand and oil traps. You should not use pesticides in your garden; the use of many pesticides is strictly banned in groundwater areas.

Many consumer products contain chemicals that are hazardous to groundwater, including water and stain repellent textile coatings and ski waxes. Off-road traffic – snowmobiles and quads – can also put groundwater at risk.

Groundwater must be taken into account in all land use and land use planning. Such projects as petrol stations, sawmills and timber treatment plants as well as gravel pits and roads present risks to groundwater. Old landfills and shooting ranges are sites with a particularly high risk. In classified groundwater areas, land use can be restricted to protect the groundwater.

A protection plan has been drawn up for around 2,000 groundwater areas, mainly for areas which are used for water supply and in which many activities that put the groundwater at risk are located. A groundwater area protection plan guides land use in the area. For more information about groundwater areas and any protection plans, contact your municipality.

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