Wellhead Protection Areas: How to Identify Your Area
February 11, 2009 In the field, environmental protection begins with reading and following the pesticide label, including the sections on protecting waterways and underground water sources. In Nebraska, where groundwater is the primary source of drinking water, protecting water from pesticide contamination should always be a top priority.
Wellhead Protection Area Management is a voluntary program in Nebraska aimed at protecting the Public Water Supply System from contamination. Development of a Wellhead Protection Area Management Plan benefits the entire community by identifying potential sources of contamination and management strategies.
If you're interested in developing a Wellhead Protection Area, start with a free step-by-step guide (Nebraska Wellhead Protection Program, Newsletter VIII) available from the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality. It and other publications available under the Programs section of the NDEQ Web site will provide further details on what's necessary. One component of this process is to actually establish the Wellhead Protection Area associated with your community's water supply.
Once Wellhead Protection Areas are identified, signs are posted to inform those entering the area. As pesticide applicators, it is important that the significance of this designated area is observed. Pesticide selection, pest control methods, and application procedures may need to be altered to preserve a Wellhead Protection Area.
For More Information
To learn more about the Wellhead Protection Area program contact the NDEQ, your Natural Resource District, or your local Extension office.
Also check the following Web sites for information on wellhead protection:
- The Groundwater Foundation
- The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (Find wellhead protection information under Programs in the left menu)
- Wellhead Protection Area Assistance Plan for the Upper Big Blue Natural Resources District (an example plan)
- Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy interactive maps of protection areas and individual wells
- UNL Extension NebGuide, Decommissioning Water Wells to Protect Water Quality and Human Health
- UNL Water Center Web site
- UNL Water Web site, Well and Wellhead Management section
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