Wellhead protection is a process of identifying and protecting the land area where subsurface water flows to public drinking water supply wells. Groundwater supplies are vulnerable to contamination from infiltration of chemicals through the soil. Contaminated water can be a public health problem, and across America water suppliers have to treat water or find new sources of water due to groundwater contamination. As the demand increases and high yield, good quality water sources become more difficult to find, it is becoming increasingly important to protect existing groundwater sources.
Community water suppliers in Indiana that use ground water are required by a 1997 Indiana Rule (327 IAC 8-4.1) to develop a wellhead protection plan. The Indiana rule was developed to meet 1986 amendments to the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act.
The overall goal of wellhead protection planning is to protect the ground water supplying community public water supplies.
A wellhead protection plan includes:
1. A map of the area delineating the one and five year time-of-travel zones to the well (wellhead protection area)
2. An inventory of potential sources of contamination (PCSI) in that area.
3. A management plan to reduce potential contamination from those sources
4. A contingency plan for emergencies
5. Public participation, education, and outreach to educate the community on the importance of wellhead protection and what they should do to protect the area.
The wellhead protection area is a physical area that is defined by having groundwater in the area that will reach drinking water supply wells within a specified amount of time. The wellhead protection area is developed by professional geologists using hydrologic mapping and computer modeling. For wellhead protection planning a 5 year time-of-travel zone is used. (i.e. any contaminant that would enter the groundwater in this area will reach public supply wells within 5 years, at the latest.)
Where you can find more information:
IDEM wellhead protection information
Best Management Practices:
- Lots of different types: http://cfpub.epa.gov/safewater/sourcewater/sourcewater.cfm?action=Publications&view=filter&document_type_id=103
- pesticides: http://publications.tamu.edu/publications/Water/B-6025%20Reducing%20the%20Risk%20-%20Pesticide%20Storage.pdf
- fertilizers: http://publications.tamu.edu/publications/Water/B-6026%20Reducing%20the%20Risk%20-%20Fertilizer%20Storage.pdf
- Hazardous waste: http://publications.tamu.edu/publications/Water/B-6028%20Reducing%20the%20Risk%20-%20Hazardous%20Waste.pdf
- General: http://www.uidaho.edu/wq/wqbr/wqbr30.html
- Everyone: http://www.epa.gov/water/education.html
- Coloring book: http://www.epa.state.oh.us/ddagw/pdu/dewcolor.html
- Water Primer: http://www.purdue.edu/dp/envirosoft/groundwater/src/ground.htm
- Hazardous wastes: http://outreach.missouri.edu/owm/students.htm
- General: http://www.projectwet.org/
- Water Science in Schools: http://ga.water.usgs.gov/edu/