Epa s role in source water protection
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EPA’s Role in Source Water Protection. Roy Simon, Associate Branch Chief, Prevention, Drinking Water Protection Division, Office of Ground Water & Drinking Water April 29, 2008. Overview. Background on drinking water sources & contaminants Overview of EPA programs to protect drinking water

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Epa s role in source water protection
EPA’s Role in Source Water Protection

Roy Simon, Associate Branch Chief, Prevention, Drinking Water Protection Division, Office of Ground Water & Drinking Water

April 29, 2008


  • Background on drinking water sources & contaminants

  • Overview of EPA programs to protect drinking water

  • Update on recent EPA source water protection activities

Scope multiple barrier approach to public health protection
ScopeMultiple Barrier Approach to Public Health Protection

Prevention through Source Water Protection






User -- Information

Source Water Protection has been a vital part of the multiple barrier approach to providing safe drinking water since the 1996 SDWA Amendments

All the nation s watersheds


All the Nation’s Watersheds

All the nation s ground waters


All the Nation’s Ground Waters

Why do we need this scope
Why Do We Need This Scope

  • Public Health Protection while achieving other Water Quality and Quantity Goals Now and in the Future

  • Population growth and water demand increases, droughts and disasters

  • Treatment plant problems – Drinking Water and Waste Water - Sustainability

  • Polluted drinking water source = more expense to treat.

Sources of water
Sources of Water

unsaturated soil



Most of the us population receives drinking water from surface waters
Most of the US Population Receives Drinking Water from Surface Waters

Distribution of Community Water Systems by Source Water

Population Served by Drinking Water Source

(101 million)

(200 million)

Population Served

…but most small systems use ground water

Source: SDWIS Fed 2006

Most people receive drinking water from large community water systems
Most People Receive Drinking Water from Large Community Water Systems

Population served by system size

Size Distribution of Community Water Systems

(68 Million)

(233 Million)

…yet most community water systems are small (84 %)

> 3,300 people served

Source: SDWIS Fed: 2006

Epa s role in source water protection

Sources of Contamination Water Systems


What contaminants cause acute health effects

Viruses (e.g., Norwalk virus) Water Systems

Bacteria (e.g., Shigella, E.Coli)

Parasites, protozoa or cysts


What Contaminants Cause Acute Health Effects?

Parasite -


Warning Sign About

Dangers of Nitrate

Parasite -

Giardia Lamblia

What are the sources of contaminants with acute health effects
What Are the Sources of Contaminants With Acute Health Effects?

  • Animal feeding operations

  • Agriculture

  • Septic systems and cesspools

What contaminants cause chronic health effects
What Contaminants Cause Chronic Health Effects? Effects?

  • Volatile organic chemicals (VOCs)

  • Inorganic chemicals (IOCs)

  • Synthetic organic chemicals (SOCs)

What are the sources of contaminants with chronic health effects
What are the Sources of Contaminants with Chronic Health Effects?

  • Industrial and commercial activities

  • Agriculture

  • Landfills and surface impoundments

  • Urban uses

Most prevalent potential sources of contamination
Most Prevalent Potential Sources of Contamination Effects?

  • Septic systems

  • Agriculture

  • Leaking underground storage tanks

Epa s role in source water protection

Example: Septic Systems Effects?

and Nitrogen and Viral Loading

Av. N

= 35- 40


National epa role
National EPA Role Effects?

  • Support National Source Water Collaborative

  • Build State and Local Capacity for Source Water Protection

  • Support National Demonstrations of Source Water Protection at State and Local Levels

  • Support and Deliver Training and Outreach to States and Localities Through National and Regional meetings and through cooperative agreements

What is a source water assessment

Public distribution of findings Effects?

Susceptibility analysis

Contamination source inventory


What is a Source Water Assessment?

Local source water protection program
Local Source Water Effects? Protection program

  • Highly Engaged Partners

  • Characterize Source Water Areas (Surface of Ground Waters)

  • Actively Implement Source Water Protection Plans

  • Evaluate Program Implementation and Adapt

What is wellhead protection
What Is Wellhead Protection? Effects?

  • Protection of ground water sources

  • Authorized by SDWA Section 1428 of the 1986 amendments

  • EPA-approved, State-designed wellhead protection plans now in 50 states

Sole source aquifer program
Sole Source Aquifer Program Effects?

  • Any person or organization may petition EPA to designate an aquifer as a sole source

  • 80 designated sole source aquifers as of March 2008

Uic program
UIC Program Effects?

  • The Underground Injection Control program’s mission is to protect underground sources of drinking water from contamination by regulating the construction and operation of injection wells.

  • These wells include Large Capacity Septic Systems (approx. 50,000 documented and 400,000 estimated nationwide)

Projects Effects?

Focus on reducing the most serious threats to source waters:

  • Agriculture – Future Farmers of America and working with Forest Service on “Forests to Faucets” and MOU

  • Underground storage tanks --New Law and Regulations from 2005 Energy Bill


  • Continuing On-Site Systems Projects


  • Ground Water Rule Implementation – Pathogens


  • National Regulation on Carbon Sequestration (DOE Partnerships and Potential New Commercial wells)

  • LT2 Watershed Control Plans by Water Suppliers for Pathogen control http://www.epa.gov/safewater/disinfection/lt2/basicinformation.html

  • OSWER Ground Water Projects Document (Forthcoming)

Projects Effects?

  • http://www.landuseandwater.org/ - Source Water Project with Trust for Public Lands and Smart Growth Leadership Institute

  • Potential Sustainable Infrastructure Awards/Recognition Efforts for Communities and/or Utilities

Projects cost effectiveness studies
Projects – Cost-Effectiveness Studies Effects?

Source Water Protection should reduce infrastructure costs of drinking water treatment, at least over time.

  • 2004 AWWA Study for Wellhead Protection

    showing 8 to 1 benefits of prevention

  • 2007 Trust for Public Land Study showing

    increases in forested land reduces costs of treatment

  • Non-point Source Community Studies (on EPA’s

    website) shows environmental impacts of prevention


For more information
For More Information Effects?

  • www.epa.gov/safewater/sourcewater

  • www.epa.gov/owm/septic

  • www.epa.gov/owow/nps

  • http://www.epa.gov/owow/nps/funding.html

  • www.protectdrinkingwater.org