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Indiana Department of Environmental Management


Source Water Protection

Each community is required to have a wellhead protection plan if using well water. Source Water Assessments are also required by law. Source water envelops several types of water including ground water, watersheds, wellheads, and surface water. A source water protection plan protects water from both surface and ground water such as reservoirs, lakes, rivers, and other sources.

The plan is split into different parts. The steps are the same for a plan protecting any area of water:

  • Establishment of a Local Planning Team
  • Delineation of the Source Water Protection Area
  • Identification and Inventory of Potential Contaminant Sources
  • Development of a Management Plan for Potential Contaminant Sources
  • Development of a Contingency Plan
  • Making the Plan
  • Reporting the plan results to the community and any required state offices

Pollutants should not be within a specified number of feet of a water source. Please be aware of this while planning and after the plan is made. Contact the appropriate IDEM staff contact person about information for the number of feet a specific contaminant must be from a particular water source.

Wellhead Protection Plans (WHPP)

WHPP are mandated by IC 13-18-17-6, the wellhead protection rule. The wellhead protection plan details how the community will plan to ensure that certain things are not happening close enough to pollute their water.

IDEM splits the wellhead plan into two phases, phase I and II. Phase one concerns the development of the plan and phase two implements the plan. The time from when the plan is made to when it must be implemented is a requirement which varies by size of the area.

If you have questions or want to know the proximity of an area to a protection plan, you can contact the Drinking Water Branch of IDEM at (800) 451-6027.

Watershed Planning

Contained within IDEM is a Watershed Planning Branch. Grants are available for counties and other utilities for Watershed planning. The Watershed Planning Branch administers the Clean Water Act Section, 205(j), and 319 programs which provide federal funding for watershed planning, water quality management planning, and nonpoint source pollution assessment, prevention, education, and restoration. In addition, the Watershed Planning Branch promotes watershed management through education, information sharing, and technical assistance.

For more information about the grants or the program, call (800) 451-6027.


IDEM and local associations are also available to assist you with questions and setting up source water protection plans. In addition, Safe Water for the Future, a Purdue Extension program, offers helpful information on centered watershed and wellhead protection on their website and through their publications. They may be contacted at (765) 496-6331.

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