What is TMWA’s Source Water Protection Program?
In a collaboration between state and local governments, TMWA is participating in a Source Water Protection Program to help prevent contamination of critical water supplies near private businesses, keeping the water clean and safe for generations to come.
TMWA is keenly aware of the importance of a healthy watershed for our area. We also understand that failure to protect our water supply from contamination can pose possible health, water quality, water supply, and financial risks to our system. Although constant testing shows that TMWA provides some of the best water quality in the nation, it’s important to continually work to protect our water sources and to reduce their susceptibility to contamination from human activities. Source water protection is one of the most effective and efficient ways to protect drinking water quality. Your participation in the Source Water Protection Program (SWPP) will help TMWA implement a multiple-barrier approach to keep our water supply clean and safe.
A community approach to protecting our water supply
The Nevada Division of Environmental Protection, City of Reno, City of Sparks, Washoe County, and Truckee Meadows Water Authority have collaborated on this public/private partnership which focuses on educating private businesses about the presence of drinking water sources and nearby sensitive infrastructure—like groundwater wells and surface water intakes.
TMWA’s goal is to be notified when new activities are planned within critical distances of sensitive, water infrastructure. This will provide the opportunity to educate those businesses about the presence of drinking-water infrastructure near their operations. This process will equip businesses with the information needed to take the measures required to help prevent groundwater and surface water contamination.
Source water protection is one of the most effective and efficient ways to protect drinking water quality for current and future needs.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. That’s true in healthcare and for our drinking water supply. The cost of cleaning up groundwater and surface water pollution can far exceed the cost of preventing contamination in the first place. The Central Truckee Meadows Remediation District (CTMRD) has spent millions of dollars cleaning up groundwater contamination from solvents that were released into the environment decades ago. The CTMRD will continue to clean up groundwater contamination and treat drinking water from certain wells at approximately $2 million dollars per year for the foreseeable future. This cost much greater than pollution prevention.
Pollution prevention can:
- Minimize health risks
- Avoid costly future remediation
- Limit future liability to the business owner
- Reduce the need for costly enforcement
- Allow resources to be used more efficiently
- Lead to a reduction and/or elimination of pollutants
Regional water quality will benefit from reduced pollutant threats to our drinking water supply, including the Truckee River and groundwater.
Water quality protection is in everyone’s interest and it is important to keep our drinking water clean, safe, and reliable. With consistent sources of clean and safe drinking water, our community will be able to thrive without unnecessary worry about future water resources. Although most groundwater contamination events happen over a short period of time, the harmful effects of contamination can linger for decades and increase the costs of providing clean water. By working cooperatively with local businesses, TMWA hopes to greatly limit, or even eliminate, instances in which easily-avoidable contamination threatens our water supply.
Local businesses will become more aware of critical drinking water sources near their facilities.
With the City of Reno’s new notification requirement, businesses will be made aware if a sensitive source of drinking water exists near their facility. Awareness of water supply infrastructure may help businesses to be more careful in their day-to- day operations to help prevent contamination of water supplies. TMWA may not be aware of activities located near water supplies that have the potential to contaminate our drinking water. With the implementation of the Source Water Protection Program, it will be easier for TMWA to be aware of such activities and for businesses to get the information they need to properly manage any contaminants they may have on site.
Source water protection planning will help TMWA continue to use a multiple barrier approach to keep our water supply clean and safe.
One of the most effective ways to protect our drinking water system is through an integrated, multiple-barrier approach that can reduce contamination of drinking water. Water quality monitoring and protection is a multi-team effort at TMWA. Adding a regional multi-jurisdictional layer of protection to our water resources will help ensure water quality receives the attention needed to protect the resource for generations to come.