Comparative Analyses of Local Wellhead Protection Programs

J. E. Connick
Larry W. Canter

DOI: 10.2190/80EP-Q2C8-T6AM-D2XN


An analysis of the implementation of local wellhead protection programs (LWHPPs) focused on preventing contamination of public ground water supplies is presented herein. From over 300 such programs in varying stages of development in the United States, the analysis presented is based on twenty-nine LWHPPs found in twenty-five different states. Delineation of wellhead protection areas (WHPAs) involved the use of using one or more of up to six methods as specified by the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency; the most frequently used method was hydrogeologic mapping. Approximately 150 potential types of sources of contamination were inventoried; however, prioritization of these sources was accomplished in only ten of the twenty-nine case study communities. Prioritization was typically based on rating source types or characteristics and local hydrogeological factors. A total of thirty-one different wellhead protection measures were identified, with all twenty-nine communities using a mixture of such approaches. New source evaluations were considered in eighteen case studies, with the most popular method for control being via the adoption of land use-related ordinances. the following observations and lessons can be drawn from this comparative analysis study: 1) the twenty-nine LWHPPs were unique and reflected local needs, hydrogeological conditions, and land uses; 2) several methods are available for delineating WHPAs and identifying potential sources of ground water contamination within the defined areas; 3) methods are needed for facilitating consistent source/contaminant prioritization for different levels of available information; 4) research is needed on the implementation and effectiveness of pollution prevention measures, particularly as related to specific source types; and 5) systematic approaches are also needed for evaluating potential land use changes which may occur within defined WHPAs, or for evaluating proposed wells co-located within existing WHPAs.

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