Developing Protective Strategies
The planning group should prioritize the threats to the source water and decide what types of efforts can be implemented to reduce threats. For endorsement by Ohio EPA, the protection plan must discuss the following types of protective strategies:
- Public Outreach/Education
- Source Control Strategies
- Contingency Planning for Source Water Contamination
- Source Water Monitoring
A good education and outreach strategy can have a lot to do with the success of a community's drinking water protection goals. A resident or business owner who understands the importance of protecting their drinking water resources will be more inclined to implement sound management practices, vote for funding to protect the community's drinking water resources, or accept the need to implement zoning within the protection area.
Educational programs can be directed at business owners, households, school children, civic organizations, workers, or the community at large, depending on which type of potential contaminant source is targeted. Some of the more commonly used educational tools include:
- VIDEO: Ground Water and the Ohio Wellhead Protection Program (This 20-minute video discusses source water protection for public water systems that use ground water, and is designed for general audiences, from children to adults. It covers how ground water moves through the subsurface to a well, how ground water becomes polluted, and how local protective activities can be implemented to prevent pollution.) To order a FREE copy, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- ACTIVITY BOOK: Once Upon a Wellfield-The Adventures of Dew
- Source Water Environmental Education Teams (SWEET)
- "Your Water, Your Decision" - build a customized brochure for drinking water protection
- Drinking Water Protection Area Roadway Signs - The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) will erect and maintain these signs at no cost on state highways that intersect a community’s source water protection area. This promotes general awareness of the protection area, and instructs travelers on how to report a spill. To request a sign, call the ODOT district contact for your part of the state.
- Consumer Confidence Reports (CCR)
- POSTERS: What YOU can do to Protect your Source of Drinking Water
SOURCE CONTROL STRATEGIES
Source Control Strategies are actions or techniques that reduce the risk of source water contamination from specific sources within the protection area. A few of the commonly identified strategies include:
- source prohibition or restrictions (certain activitis cannot occur within a designated area)
- design standards (such as berms or secondary containment systems)
- specific operating standards (such as periodic inspections, testing, maintenance, or reporting requirements)
Most large facilities handling chemicals are regulated by Ohio EPA and other agencies. These facilities may have a Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasures (SPCC) Plan and/or a storm water management plan, in addition to various permits.Most of these facilities arerequired to report periodically to the agencies regulating them, and their reports are usually public information. The planninggroup should attempt to learn as much as possible about the facilities within the protection area so they can focus their efforts where there are inadequacies.
Environmental regulations that provide special requirements for facilities located within source water protection areas currently are in effect for certain types of landfills, wastewater treatment plants and manure storage facilities, underground storage tanks, concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFO's), browfield sites, and agricultural fields being treated with wastewater.
- Implementing Best Management Practices
CONTINGENCY PLANNING for Source Water Contamination
Most public water systems have a contingency plan for emergencies such as power failures and floods, but may provide little instruction for how to react if there is a spill of chemicals within the source water protection area. As part of source water protection planning, the contingency plan should be edited - if necessary - to include such instruction for both short-term and long-term contamination ofthe source water.
SOURCE WATER MONITORING
To be endorsed by Ohio EPA, the protection plan must evaluate the need for a source water monitoring plan. The primary reasons to monitor the source water before it reaches the treatment plant are:
- Early warning of a contaminant plume
- Tracking raw water quality trends over time
- Evaluating the effectiveness of selected protective activities
The need for additional monitoring is greater when:
- The source water is highly susceptible to contamination
- The source water is already contaminated
- Existing source water quality data is insufficient
- There are potential sources of contamination in the protection area that pose a significant risk to source water
Guidance Documents for Source Water Monitoring: