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Source water protection is a program to prevent pollution of the sources of water used for public drinking water. Source water protection planning consists of three phases:
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The main reason for implementing a source water protection program is to protect the health of people using the water by preventing contamination of the water supply. Another reason is to protect a community's investment in its' water supply. Since St. Marys relies entirely on groundwater for our water supply, everything in our source water protection program is for the protection of our wells and aquifers.
The costs of treating contaminated groundwater, or obtaining an alternate source, will be much greater than the costs of implementing a source water protection program. Groundwater moves very slowly. Once it is contaminated, it may remain so for a long time. It is difficult and expensive to locate and remove the contamination. It may require decades of treatment before the water is restored to drinking water quality, and in some cases, the contamination may never be completely removed.