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Drinking Water Protection

Overview

The Drinking Water Source Protection (DWSP) group is no longer completing Source Water Assessment reports for public water system (PWS) sources. However, DWSP continues to delineate drinking water source protection areas for all PWS sources and furthers awareness of these protection areas through outreach efforts. DWSP encourages active protection efforts by promoting the development and implementation of DWSP plans by PWS and communities, as well as by providing passive protection efforts through reviewing and commenting on proposed permitted activities near PWS sources and ensuring agency loans and grants prioritize water quality improvement projects near PWS sources.

For assistance, please contact the DWSP coordinator at 907-269-7549, or toll free in Alaska at 1-866-956-7656.

Wellhead Protection (WHP) and Source Water Assessment and Protection (SWAP) are national programs funded by EPA designed to help protect and prevent the contamination of our nation's drinking water sources. Both programs have the same goal and mission but were created at different times. The Wellhead Protection was created by the 1986 amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act and focused exclusively on ground water systems. Ten years later, the 1997 amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act created the SWAP program, which extended source water protection to surface water systems and provided funding for States.

The terms Wellhead Protection (WHP) and Source Water Assessment and Protection (SWAP) are often used interchangeably. Some states have chosen to keep the two national programs separate but DEC's Drinking Water Program has chosen to integrate the requirements of the SWAP and WHP into Drinking Water Program under the Drinking Water Source Protection (DWSP) group.

Under WHP and SWAP, the Drinking Water Program's DWSP group was previously required to complete Source Water Assessment reports for all public water system (PWS) sources (groundwater and surface water). The DWSP group is no longer completing Source Water Assessment reports. However, DWSP continues to delineate drinking water source protection areas for all PWS sources and furthers awareness of these protection areas through outreach efforts. DWSP also encourages active protection efforts by promoting the development and implementation of DWSP plans by PWS and communities, as well as by providing passive protection efforts through reviewing and commenting on proposed permitted activities near PWS sources and ensuring agency loans and grants prioritize water quality improvement projects near PWS sources.

Drinking Water Source Protection Phase I: Complete Source Water Assessment (SWA) reports for active Community and Non-Community Water Systems. The SWA reports delineate the boundaries of source drinking water, identify risks to contamination, and determine the vulnerability of the source drinking water. Phase I was initially completed in October of 2004, and Drinking Water Source Protection continued to complete SWA reports for new water sources and revise older reports for several years following. The DWSP group is no longer completing Source Water Assessment reports.

Drinking Water Source Protection Phase II: Identify and promote the development and implementation of voluntary Drinking Water Source Protection Plans for Community and Non-Community Water Systems.

Current Activities

  • Delineate Drinking Water Source Protection Areas (DWSPAs) for regulated public water system (PWS) sources.
  • Field verification of well/intake locations and potential sources of contamination.
  • Maintain a GIS of DWSPAs, well locations and potential sources of contamination.
  • Provide publicly accessible web map application to help locate DWPAs.
  • Provide the results of the Source Water Assessment reports completed in Alaska
  • Assists PWSs and communities with developing Drinking Water Source Protection Plans.
  • Review and process Monitoring Waivers for Synthetic Organic Chemicals (SOCs).
  • Review and comment on proposed permits from various Federal, State, and local agencies that may impact public water system sources.
  • Promote Best Management Practices that will minimize the impact to public water system sources.

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