Auburn Continues to Work on Wellhead Protection

 In Auburn Water Department

The source of Auburn’s drinking water is groundwater produced from wells located in our community. To help protect the underground aquifer and the water supply wells from contamination, the City of Auburn continues to implement the Wellhead Protection (WHP) Plan, which was originally approved by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) in April 2003. The WHP Local Planning Team (LPT) meets annually to update the plan and implement management strategies to protect Auburn’s drinking water source. A complete copy of the WHP Plan and educational pamphlets are available to the public at the Auburn Water Department (800 North Street, Auburn, IN).

The LPT held an annual meeting on Nov. 23, 2021, to discuss the WHP Program. Auburn’s WHP Program focuses on public awareness, education, spill prevention and spill reporting. This year, the LPT will focus on public education for local, county and state transportation departments regarding the application of chemicals within the WHP areas. Transportation departments will also receive emergency notification procedures to follow any time that a release of a hazardous substance or a petroleum product occurs. Additionally, the LPT will request with local and county building and planning departments to allow the LPT to review any proposed development within the WHP areas.

Auburn continues to identify septic systems, active, inactive and abandoned wells. Leachate from an improperly maintained septic system has the potential to directly affect groundwater used for our public water supply. Water wells that become damaged, or are no longer used, are a potential conduit for surface contamination to reach the groundwater and contaminate the underground drinking water source. If you have a well on your property, please contact the Water Department at (260) 925-5711 so that it can be added to a tracking database.

Below are some tips to help you protect your drinking water source:

  • Learn about groundwater and your water source and participate in watershed clean-up activities.
  • Recycle used oil, automotive fluids, batteries and other products. Don’t dispose of hazardous products in toilets, storm drains, wastewater systems, creeks, alleys or the ground. This pollutes the water supply. Contact the Northeast Indiana Solid Waste Management District for recycling events in your area at 260-587-3063 or visit their website (http://www.niswmd.org/).
  • Limit your use of chemicals, fertilizers, pesticides and other hazardous products. Buy only what you need, reducing the amount to be later discarded. Be sure to follow label directions.
  • 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.
  • If you have a septic system, have it inspected and serviced every three years.
  • 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.
  • Keep in mind that groundwater aquifers collect and store rainwater and snowmelt that soaks into the ground.

The City of Auburn feels that drinking water protection is the responsibility of all citizens. By assisting the City with its WHP efforts, residents and business can help ensure the people of Auburn have a safe water supply now and in the future.

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