Groundwater Contamination and Protection Problems in a Small Rural Community

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This article addresses the problem of declining water quality in small communities through an examination of the views of a panel of water resource experts. It is based on the premise that sound decision-making may be facilitated when such problems are confronted by experts, rather than individuals or particular interest groups. A detailed report on ground-water contamination by toxic synthetic organic chemicals in Mount Vernon, Iowa was presented to 120 water professionals from the American Mid-West. In spite of incomplete information, the experts strongly supported positive action to limit further pollution of the aquifer. However, the problem was defined as strictly a community issue that warranted minimal financial support from the state or other agencies. There were some differences of opinion between the experts based, in part, on length of ground-water experience, but a general consensus prevailed that policy-making must take local factors into consideration.

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The Social Science Journal, v. 30, issue 1, p. 113-128