7 Elements of a Wellhead Protection Plan

1. Roles and Duties of the state and local governments and public water supply agencies. A planning team should consist of an elected official, fire chief, public works director, system operator, water customer, and other interested parties. It is important to take advantage of the knowledge and expertise of members of the community to design a plan that will best meet the needs of your community. It is always good to strive for a diverse group. This element of the program must list all the team members and a description of their roles and responsibilities.

2. Delineation of the wellhead protection area (WHPA) for each wellhead, based on reasonably available hydrological and other data. The WHPA is the area on the surface that overlies that portion of the aquifer that supplies water to the well. The state mandates using a ten year total time of travel (TOT) to delineate the WHPA. The map that shows the WHPA should also show the location of the wells, water level contours, and municipal boundaries.

3. Identification of potential contaminant sources within each wellhead protection area. This provides an assessment of the potential threats to groundwater. TheContaminant Source Inventory (CSI) should include a description of the process used to identify potential sources, a listing of all the potential sources, and a map which displays all the potential sources of contamination.

4. Management approaches for wellhead protection, including but not limited to education and regulatory approaches. These are actions that are taken to minimize the potential for contamination of the communities' wells. The plan should include a description of the local management program, identification of the partnerships or agreements, phasing of management controls and a time table for program implementation.

5. Contingency plans for public water supply systems, to develop options to deal with both short and long term loss of the drinking water supply. The plan should outline the policies and procedures for the water supply emergency response, and indicating the type and location of alternate drinking water supplies.

6. Proper siting of new wells to minimize potential contamination. Procedures should be in place to address the addition of new wells to the communities supply. The plan should identify the location, proposed depth, and other descriptive information for all new wells. The WHPAs should be identified if they are known.

7. Public education and participation The public must be involved in some way during the wellhead protection planning and implementation process. Having the public involved and educated is a way to help them own the plan so that they will want to help it succeed.

For more information about these WHP elements, please review the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s WHP Program Guide.