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Download the
Groundwater: A Primer for Pennsylvanians

Describes groundwater and discusses issues surrounding groundwater protection and management in Pennsylvania. Clear illustrations help make technical concepts easily understandable. Developed as a tool for citizens and community leaders interested in learning more about groundwater and how to protect it.

Full Primer in pdf format

Primer Text


Provided in three formats -
PDF format --
this version will take longer to download. It will open in Adobe Reader as single page with the illustrations and a brief description. You can save it to your computer, print and easily distribute.

Image only (Gif format) -
this is a quicker download and is only the image. This graphic will easily fit in your browser and can be printed or saved.

Large image (Gif format) - this is a larger version of the image for people who want to manipulate the image and use in publications. It is only 72 dpi but can be manipulated in your graphics program for higher resolution. After you opened it in your browser, go to "Save as" in your menu and save it to your computer to manipulate and use for your publications. We suggest increasing the resolution to 150 or 300 dpi, than reducing the size to the appropriate inches to get the best look.

Illustration 1 - pdf or image only or larger version
Hydrologic cycle, water is constantly on the move.

Illustration 2 - pdf or image only or larger version
Groundwater is the water that fills all the spaces in
the saturated zone.

Illustration 3 - pdf or image only or larger version
Aquifers can be composed of a variety of rock types
with different water-bearing properties.

Illustration 4 - pdf or image only or larger version
A confined aquifer is trapped beneath an impermeable
layer of clay or rock and is often under pressure.

Illustration 5 - pdf or image only or larger version
Groundwater generally flows from upland recharge
areas to lowland discharge areas.

Illustration 6 - pdf or image only or larger version
Groundwater moves in parallell paths or layers with
little mixing between layers.

Illustration 7 - pdf or image only or larger version
Pumping from a well lowers the water table near the
well creating a cone of depression.

Illustration 8 - pdf or image only or large image
Groundwater contamination may come from a variety of

Illustration 9 - pdf or image only or larger version
Animal manure is a common cause of groundwater contamination
by nitrates, bacteria, and viruses.

Illustration 10 - pdf or image only or larger version
Groundwater can be contaminated by various substances that
can be spilled while in transport as well as by deicing salts.

Illustration 11 - pdf or image only or larger version
The density of a contaminant determines whether it is a
“floater,” “mixer,” or “sinker” and affects how quickly or easily it is

Illustration 12 - pdf or image only or larger version
Map of Pennsylvania's Aquifers




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