Source Water Protection Planning

Source water protection is an ongoing and continually improving program to understand and address risks to drinking water supplies. The following sections provide an overview of the new regulatory requirements for source water protection planning in West Virginia and our approach to the planning process.

Regulatory Framework

The basic foundation for source water protection was established on a national level through the Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments passed in 1986 and 1996. These amendments created wellhead protection and source water assessment programs and left responsibility for implementing these programs with each state.

In 2014, the West Virginia Legislature passed Senate Bill 373, which established regulatory requirements for source water protection planning. This added specific requirements for public water utilities to develop and update source water protection plans. A complete copy of Senate Bill 373 can be found here.

The West Virginia Legislature also included provisions through Senate Bill 373 and subsequent Senate Bill 423 to help ensure that contaminants are appropriately stored, handled and safeguarded from ever reaching public water sources. These regulations require that information about contaminant sources be provided directly to water utilities for use in source water protection planning and event response.

Planning Process

We have developed a strategic approach to source water protection planning for each of our water systems across the state that includes the following components:

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  1. Establish vision and program objectives
  2. Evaluate existing plans and operations
  3. Update source water assessments
  4. Conduct technical and feasibility studies
  5. Develop management strategies and action plans
  6. Implement strategies and action plans
  7. Ongoing program evaluation and improvement

Stakeholder involvement is an important part of the planning process. The nature and degree of involvement varies by task and stakeholder group. A few examples include:

  • Regulatory agency input on assessment and feasibility studies;
  • Emergency responder involvement in contingency planning; and
  • Community feedback and support for strategies to address source water issues.

For more information about activities currently underway and how you can get involved, click here.