The North Dakota Source Water Protection Program was developed in response to the 1996 Safe Drinking Water Act amendments that require all states to define and assess the source waters of public water systems. All public water systems that have wells or intakes are participants in the Source Water Protection Program. Three elements of the Source Water Protection Program are federally-mandated requirements and are completed by the Department of Health, while the remaining elements can be pursued voluntarily by the governing body of the public water system. The North Dakota Source Water Assessment Strategic Plan was approved by EPA in 1999.
The Source Water Protection Program strives to meet several goals:
1. Prevent contamination of public water supplies;
2. Encourage the placement of certain activities in areas less likely to contaminate public water supplies; and,
3. Raise public awareness of water resources used for public water supplies.
Mandatory Program Elements - completed for the public water system:
1. Delineation of a wellhead protection area for ground water-dependent public water systems, or a source water protection area for surface water-dependent public water systems: The delineation is based on existing hydrologic and geologic information collected by state and federal agencies, the public water system, water well contractors, and consultants.
2. Contaminant Source Inventory: The inventory identifies the presence and location of sources or activities within the protection area that may contaminate ground water or surface water.
3. Susceptibility Analysis: The analysis determines the susceptibility of the public water system wells or intakes to contamination by sources inventoried within the protection area.
Voluntary Program Elements - pursued voluntarily by the public water system:
1. Development of Management Strategies: Management strategies are actions the governing body of the public water system may pursue to protect ground water or surface water within the protection area. Management strategies may involve the use of ordinances, zoning restrictions, or permitting requirements where the governing body has authority. Land acquisition in the protection area may be an option in cases where the governing body is lacking authority for ordinances or zoning.
2. Development of Contingency Plans: Contingency planning will help the public water system respond to interruptions in water supply. For example, how will you respond if a well or well field becomes unusable because of contamination, drought, or mechanical failure? How will you respond if a contaminant release occurs near a surface water intake?
3. Public Awareness: The public water system will benefit from efforts to inform the public of source water protection. An informed public is less likely to conduct activities in the protection area that may threaten the safety of its water supply.
4. New Wells: New wells should be located in areas that will maximize yield but also minimize potential contamination of source water. The completion of a preliminary wellhead protection area delineation and source inventory is therefore desirable prior to the installation of new wells.
Click the links below for Source Water Protection Status of North Dakota PWS Systems
For additional information about the North Dakota Source Water Protection Program or about your specific water system please contact one of the following individuals at the NDDH, Division of Water Quality or click on the list of direct PWS contacts: