Source Water Wellhead Protection

The Source Water and Wellhead Protection Program helps public and rural well water systems protect their water supply from contamination.

Wyoming is the only state in the country where public water systems are not required to complete source water assessments. However, we encourage water systems to participate in voluntary assessments. More than 385 public water systems in Wyoming have participated.

What’s involved in an assessment?

Each water supply assessment consists of the following steps:

Delineation. The area that contributes water to the well or surface water intake will be determined. This area will be called the source water area.

Inventory.  An inventory of sources of contamination within the source water area that may affect the water supply will be conducted.

Susceptibility Analysis.  An analysis of the located potential sources of contamination will be conducted. This will alert the public water system to the contaminant sources that have the greatest likelihood of affecting the water supply.

Reporting.  Assessment reports will summarize all the information gained during the assessment. Maps of the source water area, lists of major potential sources of contamination, and summaries of the susceptibility analyses will be provided to public water systems and made available to the public.

How does Wellhead Protection (WHP) fit in?

The Wellhead Protection part of the program is meant to protect groundwater used for drinking water through rural water wells. As part of the Source Water Protection Program, an assessment will be conducted for your home or community well consisting of the following steps:

  • Delineation
  • Contaminant inventory
  • Susceptibility analysis

The WHP Guidance Document describes the process of developing a wellhead protection plan in detail.

How can SWAP or WHP Benefit my Public Water System?

There are several benefits to SWAP or WHP that are enabled by the following procedures:

Waivers. DEQ is working with the US Environmental Protection Agency to develop a monitoring waiver program for public water systems that have completed source water assessments or have developed source water or wellhead protection plans. These systems may be eligible for monitoring waivers that can save substantial amounts of money on testing.

Compliance. The proposed federal Groundwater Treatment Rule may require groundwater-based systems to disinfect their water. Groundwater-based public water systems may be able to avoid disinfecting their water if source water assessment results indicate that microbiological contaminants (human and animal wastes) cannot affect the well water.

Prevention. Knowing what kinds of contamination may exist will allow your system to prevent or minimize contamination of the water supply. Public water systems can develop and implement effective source water protection or wellhead protection plans to protect the source water into the future.

Planning. Source water assessments will provide information to the public water system for planning purposes. For example, emergency response plans, new water supply development plans, and city and county planning efforts will benefit from having the information provided by the assessment reports.

Learn more about Source Water Assessment and Protection

The following EPA resources provide supplemental information:

 

Tools to Protect Private Wells for the Home and Ranch

For farms and ranches with wells, visit Farm-A-Syst, a national program cooperatively supported by the USDA Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service (CSREES), USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

For private homes with wells, visit the homeowner section of the Home-A-Syst website.

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) contains a variety of different documents and tips for wells and wellhead protection; type “well protection” in the search field at the top of the website.