SOURCE WATER PROTECTION
Manheim Area Water & Sewer Authority obtains your drinking water from two groundwater wells. Source water protection (SWP) can help prevent your drinking water from becoming polluted by managing possible sources of contamination in the watershed. Everyone has an important part to play in protecting drinking water today and for the future. We hope you will read this and other information to help understand the need to protect water sources.
SWP plans are necessary for the protection of the system’s source from contaminants that are difficult and costly to treat through normal means. The plans clearly identify actual and potential sources of contaminants to the source. Secondly, it allows communities to effectively educate the public on the importance of their drinking water source. Third, the plan serves as the first step in long-term sustainable planning for the future of the community. Finally, it provides a comprehensive action plan in case of an emergency.
A watershed is all of the land that drains to the same river or lake. Water travels from the highest point at the watershed edge to the lowest point at the bottom of the watershed. Wherever you are, you are in a watershed.
When it rains, some water travels over the land surface to the nearest stream or creek. This water is called surface runoff or storm water. As the storm water flows, it picks up any contaminants lying on the surface – pesticides and fertilizer from lawns, manure from farms, sediment from construction sites, and oil and gas from roads. Small streams join to form larger and larger rivers, until the water – and any contaminants it is carrying – reaches the final body of water.
Some precipitation, instead of traveling over the land, will percolate into the soil and reach the groundwater. Similarly, the groundwater may pick up nitrates from failing septic systems, gasoline from leaky storage tanks, and industrial chemical’s from improper dumping. The groundwater ultimately flows into one of the rivers, or lakes, in the watershed.
The Chiques Creek Watershed covers approximately 126 square miles of area, nearly all of which is within Lancaster County. Beginning in Lebanon County, the Chiques Creek flows 31 miles to its confluence with the Susquehanna River near Marietta Borough. Six townships (East Hempfield, Mount Joy, Penn, Rapho, West Cornwall, and West Hempfield) and two boroughs (Manheim & Mount Joy) have areas contained within the watershed. This is testament to the fact that natural divides such as watersheds do not respect man-made boundaries.
PROTECTING YOUR WATERSHED
Source Water Protection has a simple goal:
To prevent the pollution of the rivers, streams, and reservoirs, aquifers, wells and springs that serve as sources of drinking water.
THINGS EVERYONE CAN DO TO HELP
- COMPOST YOUR YARD WASTE AND USE NATURAL FERTILIZERS
- PICK UP AFTER YOUR PET
- NEVER DUMP ANYTHING IN CREEKS OR STREAMS
- WASH YOUR CAR AT A CAR WASH INSTEAD OF IN YOUR DRIVEWAY
- RECYCLE MOTOR OIL AND ANITFREEZE
- PROPERLY DISPOSE OF HOUSE-HOLD CLEANING PRODUCTS, PAINT, FERTILIZERS, AND PESTICIDES
- ALWAYS STORE AND HANDLE CHEMICALS PROPERLY. REMEMBER: ANYTHING YOU THROW OR STORE ON THE GROUND CAN FIND ITS WAY TO GROUNDWATER.
Cleaning up the streams and rivers in your town can also help protect your water source. Volunteers are always needed for clean-up. If you are walking the creek on a beautiful day and you see trash in the water, please pick it up. Seeing tires and bottles in the water is something no one wants. What if your children are playing in the creek and they cut their foot on a piece of glass? Now they are hurt and have also contaminated the water source.
It helps to volunteer to help with clean up. Everyone can help, young and old. We all have busy lives, but taking a little time out of a day to protect your drinking water source is something everyone should do.