Seawater intrusion threatens freshwater resources by rendering coastal groundwaters too saline for drinking or irrigation. Well water can be impacted by even small amounts of seawater intrusion: groundwater containing more than 2–3% seawater is considered non-potable. Aquifer salinization by seawater is irreversible on human timescales.
Seawater intrusion can occur naturally or be human caused as groundwater is pumped from wells. Even under static, pre-development conditions seawater exists at depth beneath low-lying coastal lands, because seawater is denser than freshwater. Climate and land-use changes can reduce recharge, lower groundwater levels, and induce seawater intrusion.
Moving residential wells to another location can sometimes be a solution but this is typically expensive and works only in situations where the lot is large. Local well drillers will be helpful in determining if this is a viable solution.
In the majority of cases the only solution to Saltwater Intrusion is a Whole House Reverse Osmosis system that treats all water entering the home. These systems are fairly expensive and require periodic maintenance.
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