Wellhead Protection

A developing area of regulation is the control of land use in the vicinity of drinking water wells or in the recharge area(s) for wells. This control restricts uses that could release contaminants and adversely affect the quality of groundwaters. It imposes standards upon the contemplated use of land in such an area, called the wellhead protection (WHP) area. The WHP area is the surface and subsurface area surrounding a public water well or wellfield through which contaminants could pass and eventually reach the groundwater supply.

Implementation of a WHP plan can cover a range of actions. The minimum action is to develop plans for alternate sources of drinking water in the event of well contamination, to inventory potential sources of contamina tion in the area, and to educate the population of the area as to the potential danger. Stronger actions include control of nonpoint sources of pollution, banning certain land uses and facilities, and a strong enforcement agency.

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