Preventing contaminants from impacting sources of drinking water is a top strategy for communities across the Great Lakes Basin.
- States, provinces, and federal governments restrict the amount of some contaminants entering waterways from wastewater treatment plants and industrial facilities through regulations and permitting systems.
- Facilities that handle, store, or transport oil and other hazardous materials are often required to take precautionary actions to reduce the likelihood and mitigate the impacts of an accidental release.
- Stormwater management and regulation is another critical tool for preventing precipitation and snowmelt from transporting contaminants into waterways in urban environments.
Regulations for rural and agricultural land
Most of these regulatory tools do not apply to rural and agricultural land, which is a major source of nutrient contamination. This includes phosphorus and nitrogen that can contribute to harmful algal blooms, the formation of toxins such as microcystin, and other adverse impacts on human health. However, many programs administered from the federal to local level exist to facilitate and incentivize voluntary conservation and the installation of best management practices that protect water quality in agricultural settings.
See below for related Investments that share how communities are preventing source water contamination.
PA VinES (Pennsylvania Vested in Environmental Sustainability) is a voluntary program that promotes self-assessment of on-farm operations in Erie County’s vineyards and provides a pathway for grape growers to access state funding that can offset the cost of installing agricultural conservation practices.
The Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) is a voluntary verification program that helps farmers reduce environmental impacts from their operations by providing technical assistance for the design and implementation of conservation plans.
The Indiana Agriculture Nutrient Alliance (IANA) is a non-profit organization that brings together agriculture groups, government agencies, conservation organizations and academics working to improve soil health and nutrient management practices across the state.
New York’s Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) Initiative seeks to mitigate the threat of HABs to sources of drinking water in upstate New York through regional collaboration, advanced monitoring pilot projects, and the development and implementation of community-specific action plans. $65 million was pledged to advance the objectives of the HABs Initiative.
The Wisconsin Nutrient Strategy documents the progress of ongoing activities implemented by federal, state, or local agencies and identifies outstanding needs to manage diverse nutrient management activities for point sources and nonpoint sources across the state.
The Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance (FWWA) has a targeted effort to work with farmers in three subwatersheds with some of the highest nutrient and sediment loading in the Lower Fox River watershed to improve water quality in northeastern Wisconsin.