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How to become involved in a Source Water Protection Program?

Find out how your public water system can participate in the Source Water Protection Program and how easy it is to join.

By electing to participate in a Source Water Protection Program (SWPP) Public Water Systems help protect the quality of the drinking water and to ensure its continued reliability. It is very easy to participate in a SWPP. Membership is initiated by informing the TCEQ in writing of your Public Water System’s interest in participating in a SWPP. There are no application forms or fees, simply submit a letter requesting TCEQ support of your program. An example is provided below.

Once the letter is received, the TCEQ will contact the Public Water System (PWS) to set up meetings with local support partners and regional leaders, such as groundwater districts and river authorities. These meetings will consist of a general presentation, followed by a question and answer period, to address any concerns the PWS may have regarding participation in the SWPP.

Next, the PWS should conduct a site-specific survey to identify the potential sources of contamination (PSOCs) near their wells or intakes. This inventory should be conducted, at a minimum, within the five-year time-of-travel capture zone for wells and the area of primary influence (API) for surface water intakes. These areas are referred to as source water protection areas (SWPAs). Maps of these areas can be found in the Source Water Susceptibility Assessment (SWSA) report, which is provided to the PWS by the TCEQ.

The inventory of all PSOCs in a SWP area provides a participating PWS with the information it needs to protect its water sources. The results of this inventory form the foundation of the site-specific SWP report and determine what best management practices could be implemented. The PSOC inventory also serves to ground-truth the PSOC dataset used to conduct the SWSA. While performing the inventory, each PSOC indicated on the SWSA map should be verified and changes or new data should be identified so that a revised source water assessment can be produced.

The TCEQ provides a database and SWPA maps to participants in the SWPP. When the PWS completes the inventory, the SWP Report can be developed. As a benefit to systems that participate, the TCEQ will provide a sample Contingency Plan that may be customized to suit their unique system.

For more information on how to sign up for the program, please visit www.swaptexas.org or contact the SWAP Program.

Example Letter

Drinking Water Protection Team
Public Drinking Water Section MC-155
Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
PO Box 13087
Austin , Texas 78711-3087

 

SUBJECT: ____ [NAME]____Public Water System Participation in Source Water Protection

The ____[NAME]____Public Water System is interested in participating in the Source Water Protection Program. We will work cooperatively with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to analyze susceptibility to contamination of source waters and develop ways to minimize potential sources of contamination through effective Source Water Protection efforts.

Specifically, we agree to:

  • Jointly review data used to prepare the Source Water Susceptibility Assessment report for our utility and suggest revisions and refinements based on local information;
  • Work to increase public awareness of source water protection and measures that may be undertaken to protect source waters;
  • Review recommended Best Management Practices, and work with the community to pursue implementation of those that are deemed to be most cost-effective; and,
  • Participate in on-going source water protection assessment and protection activities.

We understand that participation in the SWP program is entirely voluntary and will not require contribution of any monies other than dedication of staff time.