March 2013

Volume 22, Number 3

Get the PDF

By downloading this digital content, you agree to BuildingGreen’s terms and conditions of use.

Lookin' for the Water from a Deeper Well

Printer-friendly versionSend to friend


EPA granted an aquifer exemption to a uranium mine at Christensen Ranch in Wyoming, where radioactive waste is now injected into a large aquifer previously considered too deep to use for drinking water.

Photo: Dustin Bleizeffer/

By Erin Weaver

U.S. water policy could be destroying a future source of drinking water if a project under way in Mexico City to draw drinking water from a mile-deep aquifer proves feasible.

In the face of worsening water shortages, Mexico City’s 20 million residents currently depend on water pumped in from elsewhere and on the region’s shallow aquifers, the depletion of which is causing the ground to sink, damaging buildings and underground water pipes and exacerbating the problem. The newly discovered deep reservoir is still being explored, but authorities hope it will provide up to a century’s worth of drinking water.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), meanwhile, routinely issues permits allowing mining companies and other industries to pollute aquifers currently considered “too deep” to provide drinking water; more than 1,500 such permits have been issued, many of them in western states facing increasing drought. Researchers in Europe have found reservoirs of water several miles underground—depths that, in the U.S., have made aquifers eligible for the injection of thousands of gallons per day of radioactive waste.

Comments (1)

1 deep wells and fracking posted by Tom Lent on 04/02/2013 at 01:31 am

This sounds like yet another good reason to question fracking

Post new comment

Welcome !
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Glossary terms will be automatically marked with links to their descriptions. If there are certain phrases or sections of text that should be excluded from glossary marking and linking, use the special markup, [no-glossary] ... [/no-glossary]. Additionally, these HTML elements will not be scanned: a, abbr, acronym, code, pre.

More information about formatting options

March 1, 2013