Regulatory agency ensures safe drinking water

By Tracy Outlaw

The majority of South Carolina’s rural population relies on well water as their primary source of drinking water.  To be sure their water is safe Clemson’s Department of Pesticide Regulation began a groundwater-sampling program in the fall of 1991.

Wells on private and public land have been sampled for 22 commonly used pesticides and nitrate, a component of fertilizer, to determine whether chemicals used in farming, landscape management, and home gardening are compromising groundwater resources.

The regulatory agency found that 99% of the state’s domestic wells met federal standards for safe drinking water. Only 3% of wells had any measurable trace of pesticide. If the pesticide concentration is above safe levels, the well owner is advised not to drink or use the contaminated water for cooking. Agency personnel follow up with education for the well owner on how to protect groundwater from contamination.

“If you use pesticides, it is crucial that you follow the label direction thoroughly to protect yourself and your property’s water from pesticide contamination,” said Jerry Moore, hydrogeologist for Pesticide Regulation.

For more information: Department of Pesticide Regulation, 864-646-2150 or