Protecting Auburn’s Drinking Water
By Randy Harvey, Superintendent, Auburn Water Department
The City of Auburn has a robust wellhead protection program—and for good reason. The program protects public drinking water from potential contamination. Drinking water is supplied to wells by underground sources, so what we do on the surface impacts the groundwater below. And groundwater supplies drinking water to the majority of Indiana residents, making its protection even more critical.
The Auburn Water Department’s (AWD) wellhead protection plan focuses on awareness, education, spill prevention and reporting. This ensures we can effectively protect the areas surrounding public drinking water supply wells, and in turn, protect drinking water supplies. As you may imagine, a sound prevention strategy is far more effective and less expensive than remediating or replacing a contaminated water source.
Wellhead Protection Areas
A wellhead protection area is the land surrounding a drinking water well where contaminants would be likely to reach the water supply. This is the area that needs protection! If we protect the land surrounding the well, we protect the water we rely on every day.
How You Can Protect Groundwater
Our success depends on public awareness. It’s important for citizens to know that many routine activities can affect water quality. Through cooperation between the citizens in the community, local businesses and the AWD, we will ensure a dependable water supply for current and future generations. And even if you don’t live near a wellhead protection area, there are still things every resident can do to protect groundwater:
- Reduce the amount of fertilizers, pesticides or other hazardous chemicals that you use. Buy only what you need so that you don’t have to dispose of leftovers.
- Plug abandoned wells on your property as these old wells provide a direct route for surface contamination to reach ground water supplies. Contact a licensed well driller for assistance.
- Inspect and service your septic system every three years.
- Implement best management practices at your farm for pesticides, fertilizers, fuels and oils.
- Check your car, boat, motorcycle and other machinery for leaks and spills. Collect leaks with a drip pan until repairs can be made. Clean up spills by absorbing the spill. Do not rinse with water or allow it to soak into the ground.
- Reduce the use of products that contain any of the following words on their labels: caution, warning, danger, poison, flammable, volatile, caustic or corrosive.
- Recycle used oil, automotive fluids, batteries, household hazardous wastes and other products. Do not dispose of hazardous products in toilets, storm drains, wastewater systems, creeks, alleys or the ground. Visit the Northeast Indiana Solid Waste Management District website for contacts and recycling information.
How We Are Doing
Our department’s goal is to provide the community with a safe and dependable supply of drinking water. As part of our efforts, we annually test the city’s drinking water. Our Annual Drinking Water Quality Report keeps customers informed about the quality of the drinking water over the previous year.
Contact AWD immediately (24/7) to report any chemical/fluid spills. If you have advice on wellhead protection, you can also reach out to our team. Contact the AWD at 260.925.5711 or firstname.lastname@example.org.