The Illinois EPA is implementing a source water assessment program (SWAP) to assist with wellhead and watershed protection of public drinking water supplies. The 1996 amendments to the federal Safe Drinking Water Act established several programs that will help water suppliers continue to provide safe, adequate and affordable water to their customers. As required by these amendments, the Illinois EPA, in cooperation with water utilities and other stakeholders, has developed and the United States Environmental Protection Agency has approved, Illinois' SWAP. The purpose of SWAP is to:
- Identify areas that supply drinking water to the public
- Inventory potential sources of contamination
- Determine the susceptibility of the source water to contamination
- Inform the public of the assessment results
More than 11 million people in Illinois rely on public water supplies for drinking water. Assessments will be conducted for all public water supplies in Illinois, including approximately 1,800 community water supplies. In addition, more than 4,100 non-community water supplies will be assessed. Illinois SWAP activities will be divided into the following areas:
- community surface water supplies;
- non-community surface water supplies;
- Great Lakes (Lake Michigan);
- Community groundwater supplies;
- non-community groundwater supplies; and
- mixed ground and surface water community
The Source Water Assessment Program, being implemented by Illinois EPA, will help communities make important decisions about how to protect their drinking water. By working to ensure safe drinking water supplies, the health and economy of the community, as well as the preservation of natural resources, will be greatly improved. In addition, investment in drinking water treatment will be sustained for a longer time period.
Communities, whether using groundwater or surface water, should take an active role in the assessment of their drinking water supplies. For more information, community water supplies can contact the Source Water Protection staff at the number below. Public non-community supplies can contact their local health departments.
For more information on the SWAP for Illinois contact Anthony Dulka, Illinois EPA, Bureau of Water, Groundwater Section, at 217-785-4787.