The Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) Wellhead Protection Program requires all Indiana communities who rely on groundwater for their public water supply to create dedicated wellhead protection plans.
IDEM’s program builds off federal Safe Drinking Water Act requirements for all states to have a wellhead protection program, and for all public water supplies to assess risks to sources of drinking water. Under these laws there is no requirement for individual public water supplies to take full advantage of state programs, or to take concrete steps to mitigate the risks identified by the assessments. Indiana addresses these federal policy gaps through their 1997 Wellhead Protection Rule, which requires all community public water systems to develop plans to protect groundwater. These plans are reviewed by IDEM and officially approved when all criteria are met.
The process for public water supplies to develop their wellhead protection plans is divided into two phases. Following approval of the second planning phase, there is a requirement to update the plan every five years.
Phase I focuses on the planning aspects of wellhead protection and includes:
- Establishment of a local planning team
- Delineation of the wellhead protection area
- Identification and inventory of potential contaminant sources
- Development of a management plan for potential contaminant sources
- Development of a contingency plan
Phase II focuses on the implementation of strategies identified in Phase I and includes:
- Maintaining an up-to-date wellhead protection area delineation and inventory of potential sources of contamination
- Reporting on results of the implementation of the Phase I plan
- Documentation of training of local responders
In addition to exceeding federal requirements for wellhead protection, IDEM further encourages public water supplies to go above and beyond the minimum state standards with the Hoosier Water Guardian Program. This voluntary program is designed to recognize communities who emerge as source water protection leaders, highlight their strategies to inspire others and help create a professional network to share lessons learned.