What causes groundwater pollution?
Point source pollution (localised)
Point source pollution refers to a single identifiable source of local pollution that may be very concentrated. This can be caused by old landfill sites, service stations, industrial and intensive agricultural sites, and hazardous materials or waste storage areas.
Example of point source pollution
This diagram shows an example of point source pollution. Diagram: ©Spatial Vision Innovations Pty Ltd (2015)
Diffuse pollution (regional)
Diffuse pollution refers to regional pollution that occurs over a wide area and cannot be easily attributed to a single source. This can occur when many small pollution sources combine and collectively have a significant impact on groundwater quality in an area. Examples of this are septic tanks, agricultural chemicals and sea water intrusion.
Example of diffuse pollution
This diagram shows an example of diffuse pollution. Diagram: ©Spatial Vision Innovations Pty Ltd (2015)
Which authorities are responsible for protecting groundwater quality?
The Environment Protection Authority is responsible for developing standards and enforcing regulations to protect groundwater quality. The main policy guiding the protection of groundwater quality and the potential beneficial uses of groundwater is the State Environment Protection Policy - Groundwaters of Victoria (SEPP GoV). Several authorities including Southern Rural Water are responsible for upholding the SEPP GoV.