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Drinking Water Protection

To minimize the risk of groundwater contamination, a Drinking Water Protection Program (also known as wellhead protection) has been implemented in accordance with the state Wellhead Protection Rule and local ordinances. This program involves working with local planning teams and regulators, mapping of the drinking water protection areas, identifying potential sources of groundwater contamination, working with businesses to prevent spills and releases of chemicals, and preparing a contingency plan in case of contamination.

Groundwater starts as rain and melted snow. It seeps into the ground from the surface through soil, sand, gravel and rocks. Water collects in small pockets in between the sand and gravel or pores underground. A large groundwater body, or aquifer, can be tapped by wells and pumped to the surface for drinking water use. Marion County has large sand and gravel aquifers that are valuable drinking water sources.

A wellfield is the land above and surrounding wells drilled into an aquifer. When water collects on the surface of a wellfield, it seeps through the ground into an aquifer. The surface area that contributes groundwater to the aquifer is a drinking water/wellfield protection area.

People living and working in wellfields need to be especially careful to keep contaminants off the ground. These contaminants can potentially seep into our underground drinking water supply.

Contaminants include chemicals which are used in the home, business and industry, and agriculture. Chemicals such as furniture strippers, lawn and garden chemicals, cleaning chemicals and solvents, gasoline, oil, road salt, and others all contaminate groundwater supplies if poured on the ground or improperly used or stored.

Signs are located on streets around the boundaries of the wellfields to let us know that we entering these protected areas.

Additional Wellfield Resources