Now we are going to present you with a hypothetical situation in which part of a city's groundwater supply has been contaminated and you will be asked to evaluate a particular response option. Later in the survey you will be given a lot of facts and information about groundwater which may or may not assist you in your evaluation. Right now, though, we would like to get a preliminary evaluation from you.

Note that the situation we are going to describe is completely hypothetical. It may differ considerably from your current water use situation and from the groundwater situation in your community, and so we would like you to imagine that you live in the city with the groundwater problem described and respond as if you were truly facing this situation.

Imagine your city currently gets 50% of its water from groundwater. You have been getting all of your water from the city's public water supply. Now, suppose it is discovered that over the years toxic chemicals from the municipal landfill have been slowly leaking into the water table and the city's groundwater supply is now contaminated. The contamination has been occurring for a number of years and is the result of standard landfill practices. The area of contamination is about 2 square miles and is away from residential areas.

Scientists believe that drinking the contaminated water increases the risk of cancer. They have estimated the level of risk to be about 10 additional deaths per million people who drink the water per year.

Q-4. How accurately do you believe scientists can estimate the health risk posed by toxic chemicals?

Not at all accurately

Extremely accurately

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

The city government decides that, due to the contamination, the groundwater cannot be used as it is. Further, your city's other sources of water have only a 50-50 chance of reliably making up the shortfall caused by the groundwater contamination. Thus, although the water supplied to you will remain safe, there is a 50-50 chance of a 50% shortfall in your community's water supply next year.

Q-5. Do you agree or disagree with the city's decision to prohibit use of the groundwater, given the level of health risk estimated by scientists?

1. Agree 2. Disagree

3. Not Sure

Suppose that your city proposes to pay for a complete groundwater treatment operation to remove all of the contamination in the groundwater right now, leaving no contamination for the future. All of the water at the contaminated groundwater site would be pumped up from the water table as soon as possible and cleaned by charcoal filters, which trap the contaminants. This cleaned water would then be reinjected back into the water table and stored there for future use, once the possibility of future recontamination has been removed. This would be done by digging up all of the contaminated soil under the landfill and placing it, as well as all of the material in the old landfill, into a new landfill with a sealed bottom liner and a waterproof cover on top.

Scientists are satisfied with the quality of drinking water in areas where these methods have been used. This option guarantees that the 50-50 chance of a 50% shortage caused by groundwater contamination is eliminated. In addition, contaminated water would never enter the public water supply and the groundwater in your city would no longer be contaminated and would be available for future use.

A referendum is proposed to the voters of your city which calls for an increase in local water bills to pay for the costs of pumping up and cleaning the contaminated water and constructing the new landfill. The money generated could be used only to pay for the groundwater treatment program. If the referendum is passed, every one would pay the higher rate in order to fund the treatment project. It is important to note that this increase would continue indefinitely into the future until the project is finished. At the moment we don't know what the complete groundwater treatment program will cost, so we need to find out how much it is worth to people.

Q-6. Would you consider voting for a referendum to support a permanent water bill increase which would go to funding a complete groundwater treatment operation to make up the potential 50% shortfall due to groundwater contamination if the groundwater treatment could be guaranteed?

Yes No

If No Please Explain Why?

Q-7. What is the most your household would be willing to pay each month on top of your current water bill before you would vote NO on COMPLETE GROUNDWATER TREATMENT? (Click on the best response.)


$1.50 $4 $10 $30 $75 $200   $500
$0.75 $2.00 $5 $15 $40 $100 $300 > $500
$1.00 $3.00 $8 $20 $50 $150 $400

Don't Know

The amount you indicate will tell us what it is really worth to your household to get this program. If the needed groundwater treatment actually cost less than people are willing to pay, you would only have to pay what it would cost. If the groundwater treatment turned out to cost more than people are willing to pay, I would not be done.

III. Water Use In Your Community and Your Home

Now we are going to present several sets of statements and questions which present information about groundwater, ask you to think about many aspects of water use issues, and ask you to evaluate several different response options. After these sections you will be asked to reconsider the preliminary evaluation of the COMPLETE GROUNDWATER TREATMENT program which you did in Section II. The first set of questions deals with water and groundwater use in your community.

Water for residential use can come from many different sources, including surface sources such as reservoirs or lakes and groundwater sources. Groundwater comes from precipitation that falls on the land surface and seeps underground. At some depth underground the soil or rock become saturated with water. Groundwater is extracted for human use by digging wells or taking water from naturally occurring springs.

Q-8. Do you or people in your city or community get any part of your water for home use from groundwater?

1. No -Don't Use Groundwater 2. Yes -- I Use Groundwater In My Home 3. Yes -- Some People In My Community Use Groundwater But I Don't 4. Don't Know

Q-9. Often, garbage and waste placed in a community's landfill, similar to the one shown in diagram 1 below, can leak out and contaminate groundwater. Does your community have a local landfill.

1. No 2. Yes 3. Don't Know

When rainwater seeps through garbage and waste it dissolves some of the chemicals in the discarded trash. Gradually, this material, which is sometimes toxic, can seep into the water table and contaminate the water below, as A shows in diagram 1

Q-10. Do you know if the water under your local landfill is contaminated?

1. No 2. Yes 3. No -- We Don't Have a Landfill 4. Don't Know

  Once contaminants reach the water table, they spread very slowly underground in the direction water is flowing (see B in diagram 1). Many people are surprised to learn that the flow is very slow; usually less than 100 feet per year. After many years, the landfill may eventually contaminate water drawn by a well (see C in diagram 1) which supplies water to the citizens of the community.

Q-11. Does your community currently draw water from wells which are in danger of becoming contaminated?

1. No 2. Yes 3. Don't Know

Because groundwater moves very slowly the area contaminated by a specific source is usually small, on the order of a square mile or two. Larger areas may be contaminated only if there are multiple sources or if the sources a widespread land-use practice such as agricultural application of fertilizer or pesticides.

Q-12. Are you aware of any specific contaminants that are in groundwater that is currently used in your home or by people in your community.

1. No
2. Yes -- In My Home(Please identify contaminant(s):
3. Yes -- In My Community (Please identify contaminant(s):

Q-13. Are you aware of any specific instances of groundwater in your community that is no longer used because it is contaminated?

1. No
2. Yes --(Please explain briefly) 

Q-14. Have your family or people in your community ever been bothered by any health problems which you believe have been caused or aggravated by groundwater contamination?

1. No
2. Yes -- Myself or My Family (Please identify problem(s):
3. Yes -- People In My Community (Please identify problem(s):

Q-15. Who is the primary water supplier for the water you currently use in your home?

1. The City or County
2. A Private Water Supplier
3. Our Private Well -- Skip to Question 22
4. Other (Please specify)
5. Don't Know

Q-16. Has your community imposed voluntary or mandatory water use restrictions since you have lived there?

1. No 2. Yes -- Voluntary 3. Yes -- Mandatory 4. Don't Know

Q-17. Does your household pay a water company or other supplier directly for the water used in your home?

1. No Skip to Question 21 2. Yes

Q-18. Are you the person who actually pays your household's water bill

1. No 2. Yes

Q-19. How frequently are you billed?

1. Monthly 2. Quarterly 3. Annually 4. Other (please specify)

Q-20. About how much is your average monthly water bill?

DURING THE SUMMER?              & nbsp;            &n bsp;     DURING THE WINTER?

Q-21. How much would you estimate the average household monthly water bill is in your community for people using the public water supply system.

Q-22. Does your household normally use bottled water, trucked-in water, a water purifier or any other specially treated water for drinking or cooking?

1. No 2. Yes