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  • Saltwater Intrusion

    Keep your water fresh. Understand saltwater intrusion in wells.

    Saltwater intrusion occurs when saltwater seeps into freshwater aquifers or wells. You use freshwater to drink, cook, and for other daily activities. When saltwater mixes with freshwater, it can cause problems for your drinking water.

    What causes saltwater intrusion

    • Over-pumping. If you use too much water from wells, it creates a space for saltwater to move in. This occurs more often in coastal areas.
    • Sea level rise. As sea levels rise, saltwater can push into freshwater areas. This can happen because of climate change and other environmental factors.

    Effects on drinking water

    When saltwater intrudes into wells, it makes the water saltier over time. You won’t be able to taste it in early stages. As it worsens, drinking it can cause health problems and can harm your plumbing. It can also damage crops if you use water for irrigation.

    How you can protect against saltwater intrusion

    • Conserve water. Using less water helps maintain the balance between freshwater and saltwater. Fixing leaks and not over-pumping can make a difference.
    • Monitor your well. Regularly check the salt levels in your well to help you catch saltwater intrusion early. Early detection allows you to take steps to protect your freshwater.
    • Identify your risk. Check out our water quality map. If your property is within an orange or red zone, you may be at greater risk. Read our frequently asked questions below to learn more.
    • Notify us. When we learn about a well with saltwater, we make sure any new wells drilled nearby are drilled deep enough to reach freshwater.

    Saltwater Intrusion

    If you want to drill a new well in an orange zone, we will require your well driller to do additional testing for saltwater intrusion.

    Your property is at high risk of saltwater intrusion. To drill a well, you need to submit:

    • An application.
    • A well variance written by a licensed Hydrogeologist that explains a plan to drill that will lower the risk of hitting saltwater.

    You may be able adjust your well depth to avoid the saltwater. If nothing can resolve the issue, we may require your well to be decommissioned.

    We don’t want to leave you without water. If your well starts showing saltwater, we can advise you on how to treat the water or find a new water source.

    Do you have questions or want to learn more?

    Email us at EHDrinkingWater@TPCHD.org.