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Source Water Protection

What is a Source Water Assessment?
What do I do with the Assessments?
View a Video About Source Water Protection
What are the Benefits of Source Water Protection?
View Source Water Assessment Reports
Contact Source Water Assessment Program Area

The 1996 Amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) provide for a greater focus on pollution prevention as an approach to protecting surface water and groundwater supplies from pollution. The amendments require SCDHEC to provide Source Water Assessments to federally defined public water supply systems . The US EPA approved South Carolina's Source Water Assessment and Protection Program Plan on November 6, 1999. In May 2003, the SDHEC provided an assessment report to all federally defined public water supply systems (those systems which have at least 15 service connections or provide water to at least 25 people for 60 or more days out of the year). This assessment contains important information about the drinking water source and how susceptible it may be to contamination.

Source Water Assessment Reports

Click on the above link for information about web-availability of final reports.

View a Video About Source Water Proteciton

A SC DHEC 10-minute video that covers concepts such as the water cycle, surface water, groundwater, point source pollution, nonpoint source pollution (runoff), and the fundamental elements of source water protection.

Streaming Video

What is a Source Water Assessment?

The Source Water Assessment is a report that provides basic information to the public water suppliers and the general public about drinking water sources. The Assessments include the following:

Source Water Protection Area(s) - This includes a description of the drinking water source such as a groundwater well or surface water intake and the land area that contributes water to that source (Source Water Protection Area or SWPA). Maps showing the location of the SWPA are included.

Potential Contaminant Source Inventory - This is a listing of the land uses and activities within the SWPA that could potentially release contaminants to the source water. Maps showing the locations of the potential contaminant sources within the SWPA are included.

Susceptibility Analysis - This is an evaluation of the contaminant inventory to determine how likely it is that a potential contaminant source will affect a nearby drinking water source. Susceptibility is the combination of natural vulnerability of the water source to an impact and the physical and chemical properties of the potential contaminants.

What do I do with the Assessments?

The Assessment contains important information that can be used to manage potential sources of contamination near a well or intake. You can use this information to develop a community based plan to prevent pollution of the groundwater, lakes, rivers and streams that serve as sources of drinking water to your community. These efforts should include:

Formation of a local team - A team of individuals assembled to guide the process in a cohesive, efficient manner. The team's primary objective should be the protection of drinking water sources. However, they must also recognize the constraints from ongoing activities in the watershed.

Management Measures - Management of contaminant sources that have been identified and inventoried through a source water assessment program. The basic goal of management strategies is to reduce or eliminate the potential threat to drinking water supplies. This may be accomplished either through federal, state, or local regulatory controls or by using non-regulatory measures centering around an involved public.

Contingency Planning - The development and implementation of both long and short-term drinking water supply replacement strategies for supplying safe drinking water to the consumer in the event of contamination or physical disruption.

What are the Benefits of Source Water Protection?

  • A more secure and safe drinking water supply for the community and for its future generations.
  • Possible reduction in the costs associated with treating and distributing drinking water. This cost may be decreased through items such as reduced monitoring initiatives.
  • A general cost reduction through contamination prevention measures versus the expense of cleanup once contamination has occurred.


General Information


Rob Devlin at (803) 898-3798 or e-mail at

Bureau of Water . Phone: (803) 898-4300 . Fax: (803) 898-3795 . Contact Us