What is the Source Water Assessment Program?

The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) Amendments of 1996 emphasize pollution prevention to ensure safe drinking water, focusing on the protection of the water sources. In order to achieve such protection, all states are required to develop Source Water Assessment Programs. Once completed, these assessments can be used to focus prevention resources on drinking water protection. The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (LDHH) entered into an interagency agreement with the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) to develop and implement the State’s Source Water Assessment Program. The program is funded by a set-aside of the Federal Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Grant awarded to LDHH.
A completed source water assessment for a public water supply must include the following key elements:
·        A delineation of the source water protection area. The delineated area defines the zone through which contaminants, if present, are likely to migrate and reach a drinking water well or surface water intake.
·        A contamination source inventory for that source water protection area. The inventory consists of regulated and unregulated potential sources of contamination and associated contaminants of concern within the area or any known existing contamination. This is in essence a vulnerability analysis.
·        A determination of the public water supply’s susceptibility to contamination by sources identified within the source water protection area. The susceptibility analysis combines a hydrogeologic sensitivity analysis with the vulnerability analysis within the delineated areas.
The Source Water Assessment Program will result in an evaluation of the source water that provides drinking water to each public water supply system in Louisiana.   This evaluation will determine the degree to which a public water supply is protected, or at risk from, contamination. Once completed, the assessment results will be used to assist local communities in implementing protection measures such as contingency planning, implementation of best management practices, adoption of local ordinances, and public education.
For more information, please contact the Aquifer Evaluation and Protection Section at (225) 219-3510.

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