WAP-4F (6/23/05 version)
Watershed Action Planning And Implementation: "As Is" Situation, State Endorsed Drinking Water Source Protection Plans

A drinking water source protection plan is a community-led implementation plan to protect the source of drinking water from contamination at the source. A typical plan addresses:

  • educating residents and decision-makers about protecting the source water;
  • including source water concerns in the drinking water system contingency plan; and
  • strategies to reduce the risk posed by specific potential contaminant sources.

The focus and scope of a protection plan is dependent on the size and type of water system, as discussed below. Recently Ohio EPA produced an interactive Developing a Drinking Water Source Protection Plan training program to assist local communities with the planning process.

Ground Water Source Protection Planning

  • Municipal Ground Water Systems (serving a political jurisdiction) and Investor-owned Water Companies: Monitoring of the untreated source water may be an additional planning element, based on source water vulnerability to contamination. The protection plan may be implemented as a completely voluntary effort, or through a local ordinance that gives the jurisdiction authority to enforce certain measures.

    For smaller systems, serving 5,000 people or less, Ohio EPA has developed a fill-in-the-blank template to facilitate the completion of a written document.

  • Non-municipal Ground Water Systems (serving mobile home parks, nursing homes, schools, factories, and small businesses): When Ohio EPA staff complete a system drinking water source assessment report, they attach a checklist that is tailored to the types of potential contaminant sources identified in the system protection area. The owner/operator is asked to check off strategies that they intend to implement or are already implementing, and return the checklist to Ohio EPA. This checklist then becomes the system protection plan. Some non-municipal systems may want to develop a more comprehensive protection plan. If so, the system may also use the guidance materials developed for municipal system protection plans.

Surface Water Source Protection Planning

Most surface water systems serve a large population, and the protection areas are typically many square miles in extent, covering the entire watershed upstream of the water system intake. Ohio EPA is developing drinking water source protection plan guidance for these systems. Water system operators are encouraged to strongly support and be involved in any local watershed planning organizations that are active in the watershed.

State Endorsement Process

Once complete, the protection plan is submitted to the applicable Ohio EPA District Office for review and endorsement. Plans are reviewed in relation to Ohio EPA guidance (PDF 6518kb) for completing a source water protection plan. Plans that adequately address the items outlined in the guidance, are endorsed.