Virtually every stream, lake, river and aquifer in this country is used as a drinking water source. Protecting these source waters from contaminants is a major national priority in protecting public health through ensuring a clean, safe drinking water supply. Reducing the threat of waterborne illnesses helps save hundreds of millions of dollars annually by eliminating costly health care expenses, lost wages, work absences, decreased job productivity, and additional treatment costs incurred by Public Water Systems (PWSs) required to meet federal drinking water quality standards.

The Source Water Protection Program, authorized by the 1996 Amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), outlines a comprehensive plan to achieve maximum public health protection. According to the plan, it is essential that every community take these six (6) steps:

  • DELINEATE your drinking water source protection area
  • INVENTORY known and potential sources of contamination within these areas
  • DETERMINE THE SUSCEPTIBILITY of your water supply system to these contaminants
  • NOTIFY AND INVOLVE THE PUBLIC about threats identified in the contaminant source inventory and what they mean to their PWS.
  • IMPLEMENT MANAGEMENT MEASURES to prevent, reduce, or eliminate threats
  • DEVELOP CONTINGENCY PLANNING STRATEGIES to deal with water supply contamination or service interruption emergencies

Download the Source Water Protection Pocket Guide>>

Produced by EPA Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water (4606-M)EPA 816-K-02-002 June 2002  56 pgs.

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