Source Water Assessment and Protection

The Source Water Assessment and Protection Program provides for the assessment and protection of sources of public drinking water from both surface water and groundwater sources in Delaware.

State-level Source Water Assessment and Protection Programs are established under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments of 1996. In Delaware, the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control has the lead role in the program. It partners with the Division of Public Health, in the Department of Health and Social Services, and with the University of Delaware Water Resources Center.

Source Water Assessment

Assessment of sources of drinking water consists of these critical steps:

  • Delineation of source water areas
  • Identification of existing and potential sources of contamination
  • Determining the susceptibility of the source water area to contamination
  • Reporting the results of the assessment to the public

The Delaware Environmental Navigator (DEN) identifies the location and status of both existing and potential sources of contamination within the State. Most potential point sources have been mapped and rated with their potential to contaminate surface water, groundwater, soil, sediment and air.

Wellhead Protection Plan

The Delaware Wellhead Protection Plan, approved by EPA in 1990, delineated wellhead protection areas around public water supply wells and set out steps needed to protect critical wellhead areas around these wells.

Some of these are handled as part of the department’s regulatory programs. Others, including Wellhead Protection Area Delineation, Contaminant Source Identification and public participation, are part of the Source Water Assessment and Protection Program.