RESTON, Va. — Key factors have been identified that help determine the vulnerability of public-supply wells to contamination. A new USGS report describes these factors, providing insight into which contaminants in an aquifer might reach a well and when, how and at what concentration they might arrive, according to a press release.

About one-third of the U.S. population gets their drinking water from public-supply wells, noted the release.

"Improving the understanding of the vulnerability of public-supply wells to contamination is needed to safeguard public health and prevent future contamination," said Suzette Kimball, acting USGS Director. "By examining ten different aquifers across the nation, we have a more thorough and robust understanding of the complexities and factors affecting water quality in our public supplies."

The study explored factors affecting public-supply-well vulnerability to contamination in 10 study areas across the Nation, stated the release.

The study found that conditions in some aquifers enable contaminants to remain in the groundwater longer or travel more rapidly to wells than conditions in other aquifers.

The report was done by the USGS National Writer-Quality Assessment Program.

Read the entire press release here.