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Wellhead Protection Program (7/30/2012)

The goal of a wellhead protection program is to identify, manage and protect the land areas that contribute groundwater to drinking water wells. When our drinking water is pumped into the water system from a groundwater well, the water within the aquifer is drawn towards the well. The size and shape of these aquifer areas supplying our wells depends on the unique characteristics of the aquifer as well as the pump. Using information from groundwater models and local hydrogeologic data, the boundaries of these groundwater recharge areas can be accurately identified.

Typically we identify the boundaries of the area contributing to a well’s supply, known as the Zone of Contribution, or ZOC. Identifying these zones allows preventative measures to be established that regulate future land-uses and activities that have the potential to contaminate groundwater. Also, investigations to identify existing or historic land uses and potential contamination sources are documented so groundwater monitoring or management needs can be established.

In accordance with the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources established a statewide wellhead protection program that requires a wellhead protection plan to be developed for any municipal well proposed after May 1992. SBU, however, has voluntarily completed wellhead protection plans for the active wells in our system. Additionally, the City of Sturgeon Bay has enacted an ordinance that defines and protects the wellhead protection zones for all 5 active wells.

For more information on the Wisconsin Wellhead Protection Program, visit the DNR’s website at:

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