Source water protection is a community activity -- there are things that
everyone can do to protect and improve drinking water sources.
Below are some tips for how residents and businesses can help reduce impacts to
Residential Tips for Protecting Source Water
Any materials that are released to the ground or poured down the drain or
toilet can flow to and affect waterways. Stormwater picks up debris, dirt and
other pollutants as it flows over the land surface. These materials are then
discharged untreated into the water bodies we use for swimming, fishing and
drinking water. Excess stormwater flow can also overwhelm sewer systems, causing
combined sewer overflows.
Here are some actions that residents can take to help keep these materials
out of waterways:
- Use and dispose of harmful materials properly. Take hazardous household
wastes such as cleaners, oils, paints and batteries to proper waste collection
sites. Don’t dump them down your sink, toilet or storm drains.
- Dispose of pharmaceuticals by taking them to collection sites, where
available. Don’t flush them down the toilet!
- Check for leaks from heating fuel tanks and automobiles. Use pads to catch
accidental leaks and clean up any spills with dry absorbent products instead of
washing them with water to the storm drains.
- Limit the use of fertilizers and pesticides on your lawn or consider natural
alternatives. Consider landscaping with native plants and use mulch on bare
ground and slopes to prevent erosion and runoff.
- Clean up litter, pet waste and lawn clippings from your yard that may end up
in the storm drains when it rains.
- Fuel your boat cautiously and keep the engine well-tuned to prevent oil
- Properly abandon and seal old wells on your property. Do not use them for
- Inspect your septic system and have it serviced regularly – usually every
- Report any spills, illegal dumping or suspicious activity to DEP at
Business Tips for Protecting Source Water
Industrial and commercial businesses have an important role in protecting
water supplies through best management practices (BMPs) for storing, handling,
and reporting information about materials at their facilities.
Here are some actions that businesses can take to do their part:
- Ensure that you follow all applicable regulations related to waste
management, including wastewater and stormwater discharges. Keep permits up to
date and comply with permit requirements.
- Follow industry best practices for proper materials management including the
responsible selection, use, storage, transport and disposal of products.
- Develop and maintain pollution prevention and spill response and prevention
plans that identify measures to prevent releases to waterways.
- Train employees on proper material handling and spill response
- Secure storage areas against unauthorized entry. Inspect aboveground and
underground storage tanks to ensure they are in good working order.
- Investigate the routing of floor drains. Floor drains in areas where
hazardous materials are stored should drain to an isolated tank or the sanitary
sewer. Drains that discharge directly to storm or surface waters can pose a
threat to nearby water bodies.
- Inspect vehicles regularly to be sure they aren’t leaking fluids like oil or
- Limit the use of fertilizers and pesticides on the property or consider
natural alternatives. Cover bare ground and slopes to prevent erosion and
- Notify your local water utility of materials stored in aboveground storage
tanks as required by West Virginia Code.
- Report any spills immediately to DEP at 1-800-642-3074. Report any
suspicious activities to local law enforcement.
For more information about BMPs, refer to EPA’s National Menu of Stormwater
Best Management Practices at
Look for local opportunities to participate in activities to clean up
waterways and protect streams from soil erosion and pollution. Below are some
- Join a local stream cleanup event.
- Find a watershed or wellhead protection group in your community and
volunteer to help.
- Participate in a collection day for household materials and
- Organize a storm drain stenciling project to remind people that storm drains
dump directly into local water bodies.
- Support local land use policies that are protective of waterway
- Raise public awareness through educational programs