Threats to Drinking Water
The goal of the Source Protection Plan is to manage or remove activities that are, or could be a significant threat to drinking water sources. The Clean Water Act, lists 20 that are potential threats to the quality of water and two that are potential threats to the quantity of the water (i.e. List of 22).
What is a Significant Drinking Water Threat?
A drinking water threat is an activity or condition that adversely affects, or has the potential to adversely affect, the quality and quantity of any water that is being used as a source of drinking water. However, for the threat to be considered “significant”, is dependent on the type of threat and the proximity to a wellhead or intake. For instance, threats that have a high level of toxicity that are known to persist in the environment for long periods of time (i.e. break down slowly) are often considered “significant”.
Learn More Here: Steps to Determine Significance of Threat
The Five Categories of Threats
- Sewage: Improperly cared for septic systems are considered to be potential threats to drinking water sources, due to possible leaching of contaminants such as chemicals and bacteria into ground or surface water.
- Agricultural and Livestock: Improper application, handling, and storage of agricultural material can contaminate local drinking water (i.e. manure produced by farm animals, runoff from farm yards and manure storages, application and storage of commercial fertilizers, and application and storage of pesticides).
- Road Salt: Large quantities of salt applied to the roadways, can end up in our lakes and streams causing harm to the water quality and expensive removal treatments.
- Snow Storage: Large piles of snow stored in areas such as large parking lots or even along streets, can be contaminated with road salt, car pollutants and heavy metals often lead to contaminated drinking water sources once they begin to melt.
- Hazardous Waste: Improper storage or handling of hazardous waste, such as paint removers, metal cleaners, and stains, etc. Even small amounts of liquid hazardous waste such as paint or motor oil can contaminate a large area of water. Dense non-aqueous phase liquids (DNAPLs) are chemicals that are heavier or denser than water and do not dissolve easily in water, for example crude oil.
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