Frequent Questions

What is a wellhead protection area and how can a facility determine if it is located in one?

Pursuant to 40 CFR §112.20, a facility that could reasonably be expected to cause substantial harm to the environment by discharging oil into or on the navigable waters or adjoining shorelines must prepare and submit a Facility Response Plan (FRP).  Section 112.20(h)(2) and Part 112, Appendix F, Section 1.2 require an FRP facility to include facility information, including whether the facility is located in or drains into a wellhead protection area as defined by the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA).  What is a wellhead protection area and how can a facility determine if it is located in one?

A wellhead protection area is defined as the surface and subsurface area surrounding a water well owellfield, supplying a public water system, through which contaminants are reasonably likely to move toward and reach such water well or wellfield.  The SDWA required states to develop and obtain EPA approval for wellhead protection programs (WHPP).  At this point, all states have developed an EPA-approved WHPP.  Therefore, facilities requiring assistance in determining if they are located in a wellhead protection area should contact their state’s source water protection contact.  Alternatively, guidance, publications, and other resources for state WHPPs are available on state source water Web sites.  Information for state source water protection contacts and Web sites is available at the following URL:

www.epa.gov/sourcewaterprotection/source-water-contacts

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