OEC Celebrates Scientists: Amy Patton
“Clean water is a naturally renewable resource. However, once contaminated, it becomes very hard to get back to a usable state. Our clean water is so valuable, and protecting it must be a priority.”
—Amy Patton, Hydrogeologist
Amy Patton is a hydrogeologist working in various parts of Oregon. She studies groundwater and works to raise awareness about and protect the cleanliness of our groundwater.
MORE FROM AMY
Groundwater exists everywhere beneath us. How we impact and access it is just a matter of the depth it takes to reach it. Contamination can work its way down into our groundwater from the surface, which is why it’s so important to be aware of how we use chemicals on our farms, gardens, and lawns and store and dispose of toxins or even natural materials like manure or compost.
The majority of rural Oregonians depend on private wells for drinking water, but many people are not aware that there may be nitrate or arsenic in their area. If you are used to your water coming from a public water system, your water supplier is required to test regularly. But for many of Oregon’s rural residents, if you are not paying attention to your water quality, no one is.
I work to educate people who get their water from private wells about the quality of the water they’re drinking. I look for chemicals in the ground and help prevent people from being exposed to chemicals in their well water without knowing it.