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Protection Strategies

The goal of protective management is to maintain and improve the quality of the water source used by a PWS. Experience has documented that contaminants, contaminant sources and specific land uses can be managed to help reduce the likelihood that water will be rendered unfit for PWS uses or that changes in water quality will increase operating costs. Protective management strategies are applied within the delineated SWPA and may include: increased monitoring or inspections at potential sources of contamination, prioritizing regulatory controls on sources of contamination, implementation of best management practices (BMPs) and public education programs.

Areas more likely to allow contaminants to enter the source water should be managed more intensively than other areas. If the inventory has discovered a large number of different types of sources, the team may want to prioritize the sources according to how likely they are to contaminate water or how dangerous the contaminants are to human health using the susceptibility assessment from Step 3.

The team should set goals for managing the potential sources of contamination in the zones of the SWPA. Various management options should be evaluated based on reaching the team's goals. For instance, if the goal is to prevent contaminants from entering groundwater, management options might include double containment for storage containers or simply prohibiting certain activities. If the goal is to maintain and improve the quality of the drinking water, management might include public education programs or implementing BMPs in local businesses and farming operations.

The community planning team should prepare recommendations to the governing entity that will be responsible for managing the SWP program.  The team should also suggest a time frame for evaluating the success in reaching the management goals.

Many communities find that political or geographic boundaries (such as the city limits, streets, streams or section lines) are easier to manage than the scientific boundaries of the delineated zones. Communities are encouraged to use political or geographic boundaries for the SWP zones if these boundaries also include the scientifically determined delineation boundaries.

Local entities may choose to manage their SWP areas in a variety of ways. The choice of management techniques is determined by the size and nature of the SWP area, the type of delineation method used, the type of local entity, the operation of the potential source of contamination, the characteristics of the chemicals used and the source management already in place. For more assistance, contact your Regional Source Water Assessment and Protection Coordinator at DEP.