The Delineation and Management of Wellhead Protection Areas

by Ron Hoffer, US EPA, Washington, DC, USA,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Detection, Control, and Renovation of Contaminated Ground Water


The delineation and protection of a management zone around specific wells or wellfields will undoubtedly become more common as the 1986 Amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act are implemented by the States. Both primary elements - the delineation of the zone and the management of activities that may impair the quality of the ground-water supply, can be accomplished to varying degrees of comprehensiveness. Zone delineation is based primarily on the hydrogeologic setting of the area, and conceptually represents a best-available characterization of all or part of the 'ground-watershed' supplying specific wells or aquifer segments. Some of the primary factors affecting the extent of this zone are the degree of aquifer confinement, hydrologic properties of the aquifer, impact of recharge and boundary conditions, and well construction and operating characteristics. On the management side, State and local governments will consider the stringency of needed regulatory and nonregulatory controls depending on the actual or perceived threat to the resource, as well as the legal, financial and administrative tools available to them.

Subject Headings: Financial management | Water pollution | Groundwater management | Groundwater quality | Hydrologic properties | Wells (water) | Resource management | Underground construction

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