The elements of the Drinking Water Protection Program are public education, promoting community involvement, ordinances and zoning, and contingency planning.
The DEQ Drinking Water Protection Team wants to make everyone aware of their drinking water sources and how important it is to protect them. To do this, a public awareness campaign will be initiated in Louisiana communities. The Team releases press announcements, speaks on television and radio shows, and distributes information in the form of brochures, flyers, fact sheets, posters, and other forms of promotional material. Signs reading "Drinking Water Protection Area" are placed on major highways at the boundary of the drinking water protection areas for drinking water wells and surface water intakes to remind citizens that the actions they take in this sensitive area have a high impact on the quality of their drinking water. The Team gives educational presentations to schools and other organizations, as well as speaking to local citizens, officials, and water system operators, about the importance of drinking water protection. Businesses and industries within the drinking water protection area that store or handle chemicals have a greater chance of inadvertently contaminating the drinking water source because of their location. The Team also visits, or recruits volunteers to visit, businesses and other establishments within the drinking water protection area.
DEQ Drinking Water Protection team member Micaela Marchand
demonstrates how non point source pollution can affect water quality at Acadian Elementary School in Houma, Louisiana.
DEQ Drinking Water Protection team member Tiffani Cravens
demonstrates contamination of an aquifer at a community meeting in Rayne, Louisiana.
DEQ Drinking Water Protection team member Jesse Means explains how ground water moves and how it can become contaminated at LSU's annual Ocean Commotion in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
DEQ Drinking Water Protection team member Mary Gentry explains the benefits of protecting drinking water
at a community meeting in Rayne, Louisiana
The key to promoting public involvement is first through public education. Once people are aware of potential problems, they are more likely to act to prevent them. Not only do we want to educate the public about drinking water concerns, we also want to get communities involved in protecting their own drinking water.
The DEQ Drinking Water Protection Team will work with communities on a parish or watershed level and will involve local officials, water system operators, community planners, businesses, citizens, students and others in the effort to protect drinking water. A Drinking Water Protection Committee will be established in each Louisiana community targeted by the program.
The Drinking Water Protection Committee is comprised of volunteers wanting to participate in continuing public education and drinking water protection actions in their own community. The committee works on different projects that will benefit the quality of the community's drinking water. Each individual committee chooses the dates, times, and frequency of their meetings. It is emphasized to the volunteer committees that even small amounts of time can be useful in helping the community protect its drinking water.
Possible committee projects include visiting businesses to distribute information on best management practices for the businesses, giving presentations at schools, arranging or participating in a household hazardous materials collection day, organizing a mail-out of drinking water protection information, or focusing efforts on passing a drinking water protection ordinance in your community. A list of possible tasks can be found in the Committee section. The Drinking Water Protection Team provides the Committee with tools to use for public education.
If you are interested in learning more about participating in a drinking water protection committee, or to find out if there is a committee near you, please contact the Drinking Water Protection Program staff at (225) 219-3510.
An ordinance is a statute enacted by the city or parish government. A drinking water protection ordinance is an ordinance passed with the purpose of protecting the community's drinking water sources. Zoning and ordinances can provide a high level of drinking water protection by specifying and regulating the type of activity surrounding drinking water sources.
DEQ recommends that communities pass drinking water protection ordinances and consider the location of public water supplies in planning and zoning activities. DEQ can provide maps in electronic or hard copy format to planning and zoning boards that show where wells and drinking water intakes are located and the extent of the drinking water protection area around each well or intake.
For more information on ordinances, see the Ordinances section. To view sample model ordinances, see the Sample Ordinances in the Resources section. The samples are simply provided as tools to assist communities in preparing their own ordinances. No one should attempt to pass any of these sample ordinances or any ordinance without review by appropriate legal counsel.
As part of the Drinking Water Protection Program (DWPP), the Drinking Water Protection Team visits the operators and/or managers of each community water system in the area it is targeting. The Team reviews the Source Water Assessment Program (SWAP) reports with the water system personnel, answering any questions and pointing out possible risks drinking water source contamination. The Team discusses with the water system personnel possible prevention tools and best management practices, such as contingency planning, to prevent contamination of drinking water.
A contingency plan is a plan of action adopted by a community or water system to deal with a long or short-term partial or total loss of their normal water supply. The plan outlines alternative water sources and priority users, such as hospitals, in emergencies.
The DEQ Drinking Water Protection Team will visit and request contingency plans from all ground water and surface water systems. Once a ground water system submits a contingency plan, it will be recognized not only as having fulfilled the requirements of the DWPP, but also as having an approved Wellhead Protection Program (WHPP).
There is no program similar to the WHPP in existence for surface water systems at this time, but a surface water system must complete a contingency plan to fulfill the requirements of the DWPP.
The contingency plan is filed with the local Office of Emergency Preparedness because they could become involved with a water system in the case of an emergency loss of water, or other water system emergencies.
Contingency plan forms for ground water, surface water, and combination systems can be found in the Water Operator Resources section.