3.5.5 Wellhead Protection
Most of the communities in the watershed depend on groundwater sources for drinking water. The federal Safe Drinking Water Act requires states to implement Source Water Protection Programs to help prevent contaminants from entering public drinking water sources. The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) requires public water suppliers to develop Wellhead Protection Studies to delineate and manage the area surrounding a public water source such as a groundwater well. A number of the communities in the watershed have completed those studies and have designated Drinking Water Supply Management Areas (DWSMA) and Wellhead Protection Areas for their public wells. The risks and vulnerability to contamination of the drinking water supply have been identified for each area and management plans for minimizing that risk have been developed and approved by the MDH. Figure 32 shows the Wellhead Protection Areas and associated DWSMA by vulnerability risk. Each subwatershed plan includes a figure with more localized detail.