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.

Related Investments