Source water protection is a program to prevent pollution of the sources of water used for public drinking water. Source water protection planning consists of three phases:
The main reason for implementing a source water protection program is to protect the health of people using the water by preventing contamination of the water supply. Another reason is to protect a community's investment in its’ water supply. Since St. Marys relies entirely on groundwater for our water supply, everything in our source water protection program is for the protection of our wells and aquifers.
The costs of treating contaminated groundwater, or obtaining an alternate source, will be much greater than the costs of implementing a source water protection program. Groundwater moves very slowly. Once it is contaminated, it may remain so for a long time. It is difficult and expensive to locate and remove the contamination. It may require decades of treatment before the water is restored to drinking water quality, and in some cases, the contamination may never be completely removed.
In 2005, Ohio EPA completed a study of St. Marys' source of drinking water to determine its susceptibility to contamination. According to the study, the aquifers (water-rich zones below ground) that supply well water to St. Marys have a "moderate" susceptibility to contamination. The moderate rating does not mean the aquifers will become contaminated, but that conditions exist for the possibility of contamination.
Factors considered in the moderate susceptibility determination included:
St. Marys has developed a Source Water Protection Program to minimize the likelihood of aquifer contamination through various protective measures designed to protect the aquifers. Development of the program consisted of three phases:
Ohio EPA formally endorsed the St. Marys Source Water Protection Program on April 14, 2014. The importance of Ohio EPA endorsing the program is something St. Marys citizens should be very proud of.
Benefits of Source Water Protection include helping St. Marys provide the safest and highest quality drinking water to its customers at the lowest possible cost and to plan for future expansion, development, zoning, and emergency response issues.
St. Marys Source Water Protection Area
For More Information
More information about Source Water Protection or what consumers can do to help protect our water supply is available by calling (419) 394-3114 or see the following information: