How may I be exposed by contaminated surface water and groundwater?

How may I be exposed by contaminated surface water and groundwater?

What is groundwater?
Beneath the earth's surface, water is present in underground areas called aquifers. Surface water runoff from rain and snow melt replenishes (or recharges) groundwater by percolating through the soil to the aquifer. Surface water that is contaminated may contaminate groundwater.
Groundwater can emerge as springs on hillsides or seeps in the bottom of streams, lakes, wetlands, and oceans. Groundwater affects not only the quantity of surface water, but also its quality because polluted groundwater can contaminate surface waters.
A study by the United States Geological Survey found that groundwater supplies 52% of all stream flow in the country - that is, over half of all surface water is replenished by groundwater.

How may I be exposed by contaminated surface water and groundwater?
We use water for drinking, cooking, bathing, swimming, boating, and irrigating gardens and farms. We catch and eat fish from surface waters. If water is contaminated, all these activities can be affected.
The water we use comes from surface water, such as streams, lakes, reservoirs and oceans, and also from groundwater. Surface water and groundwater interconnect in many ways so that contamination of one often results in contamination of the other. Nationwide, groundwater supplies drinking water to 46 % of the general population, and 99 % of the rural population. (See box: What is groundwater?)7
In New York, approximately 6 million people-including almost everyone who resides in Nassau and Suffolk counties on Long Island and many who live in rural areas- rely on groundwater for drinking. The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) designated seven "Sole Source Aquifers" in New York State, which are the sole or principal drinking water source for the more than 3.6 million people living in these areas. Contamination of these aquifers could create a significant hazard to public health.
The seven sole source aquifers and the number of people they supply are: the Nassau-Suffolk Aquifer System (2.4 million people); the Brooklyn-Queens Aquifer System (650,000); the Ramapo River Valley Aquifer System (250,000); the Cattaraugus Creek Basin Aquifer System (200,000); the Schenectady-Niskayuna Aquifer System (140,000); the Clinton Street Ballpark Aquifer System (130,000); and the Cortland-Homer Preble Aquifer System (35,000).8
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