Source Water Protection

To serve you better, we've assembled a summary of PWSC's Source Water Protection Program under TRWA. Information includes, background, purpose and scope, program incentives, PWSC initiatives, location of system, as well as ways the PWSC community can protect our source water. To request more information, contact us.


The roots of source water protection originated with the Wellhead Protection (WHP) program, created by the 1986 Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). Texas was the first state in the nation to implement a WHP program, having adopted a voluntary approach at the time, WHP was solely focused upon Texas groundwater. In 1996, amendments to the SDWA expanded to include all sources of drinking water. The Source Water Protection (SWP) program is an expansion of the WHP program designed to include all sources of public drinking water. Texas now boasts over 700 local water systems voluntarily participating in the program

The SDWA mandated that states assess the susceptibility of all state public drinking water supplies to contamination. Congress intended for these assessments to identify those areas that are most vulnerable to contamination. Under the new law, states were required to delineate the boundaries of the areas from which water systems receive their source water and to identify the origins of monitored contaminants within the areas.

The act provides for the creation of voluntary, community-based, "source water protection partnerships". To answer this charge, Texas developed the Source Water Assessment and Protection (SWAP) Program. This SWAP program was built upon lessons learned from the states' successful WHP and Vulnerability Assessment Program (VAP) and serves a two-fold purpose. First, the Source Water Assessment (SWA) component is responsible for the statewide Source Water Susceptibility Assessments (SWSA). Second, the Source Water Protection component is designed to assist local governments in protecting areas surrounding public drinking water supplies within their jurisdiction, for both groundwater and surface water.


Purpose and Scope

The purpose of this project is to provide an organized approach and to develop a better understanding of the environmental factors that may be affecting the Pattison Water Supply Corporation's public drinking water wells. This can then lead to targeted groundwater protection activities to address areas of greatest concern and the implementation of Best Management Practices (BMPs)

Whether a public water system relies on surface water, groundwater, or a combination of the two, protection of a water system's source is important. If the source becomes contaminated, threats to public health are increased. In addition, expensive treatment, replacement or relocation of the water supply may be required. Treatment or relocation costs are passed on to every user served by the public water system and local property values may be at risk. Water is a limited resource. If a source becomes contaminated, there may not be another source available that can be developed. Therefore, protection of existing sources of water is a prudent way to protect public health and keep treatment costs to a minimum

In addition, water can be thought of as a commodity that water systems sell. Once it becomes contaminated, it loses value because it cannot be sold to customers or it must be treated prior to being sold or used. Additional water treatment increases the cost of water; therefore, initiating source water protection and best management practices not only protects our precious resources but also can reduce costs for a community and encourage improved economic development

This repost describes a cooperative venture between the Pattison Water Supply Corporation, the Texas Rural Water Association (TRWA), the United States Department of Agriculture/Farm Service Agency (USDA/FSA), and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). Funding for this project was made possible through grant monies from the USDA Headquarters in Washington D.C. 


Source Water Protection Program (SWP) Incentives 

The Source Water Protection program is a voluntary program. The willingness to participate shows our community that PWSC is willing to go the extra mile to protect the community's drinking water, not only for today, but for generations to come

Public Water Systems (PWS) that participate in the SWP are eligible for the TCEQ's Source Water Protection Recognition Program

Prevention of increased treatment costs associated with source water contamination. Contamination of source waters is a serious matter that may affect public health. Once source water is contaminated, it is difficult or impossible to remediate. Prevention of source water contamination is far easier and less expensive than acquiring specialized treatment equipment or new sources of water that will increase costs for the PWS

Participation in the SWP program may improve public relations. Systems that have completed all the requirements for membership in the SWP program may advertise their membership by posting signs along roadways and in printed text on the Consumer Confidence Reports (CCRs)

Implementing best management practices may modify the susceptibility rating of the PWS. Future assessments may incorporate data obtained in the source water protection efforts and the positive effects of BMPs for the PSOCS identified in initial assessments, potentially lowering the susceptibility ratings for many of the contaminants. PWS systems must first identify and implement BMPs for PSOCS identified within their protection zones

Systems that choose to participate in the SWP program conduct annual inventories of the assessment area and in the process may find additional sources of contaminants and verify or correct the locations of PSOCS or water source locations (water wells or surface water intakes) identified in this source water assessment. Improving the quality of data will improve the quality of future source water susceptibility assessments

Participation augments access to funds to implement best management practices, acquire land and modify infrastructure. Funds are available through the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) for land acquisitions or construction of BMPs within source water contribution areas or to make PWS infrastructure improvements. The funds are available as low interest loans through the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB). For information on DWSRF visit the TWDB website at: In addition, grant monies are also available through state and federal programs, particularly for nonpoint source pollutant management. For example, Clean Water Act Section 



The Texas Groundwater Rule 

The EPA adopted the Ground Water Rule October 11, 2006. The rule applies to all PWS that use ground water. The rule becomes effective December 1, 2009. It applies to all public water system, including transient non-community (TNC) water systems as well as community and non-transient non-community (NTNC) systems

Under the new rule, when you get a total coliform positive result in any routine distribution system sample, you must sample every well feeding that distribution system (for the fecal indicator specified by TCEQ) within 24 hours. This includes purchased water sources. Your monitoring plan must include contact information for any systems that supply you with potable water for redistribution to ensure this information is readily available

However, sampling can be limited to fewer wells if you have a TCEQ-approved Triggered Source Monitoring Plan [290.109(c)(4) (B)(ii)]. This monitoring plan describes the wells thatfeed each part of the distribution system. It goes with your monitoring plan's raw water sampling section. When you get a positive distribution coliform sample, you only have to collect triggered raw samples at the well(s) feeding that specific location in the distribution system. Also, the monitoring plan should describe if you have a well field with multiple wells that have equivalent water quality

Triggered Source Monitoring Plan 

A system that only has one well does not need to prepare a Triggered Source Monitoring Plan (TSMP). PWSC is considered to be a complex system, and therefore has aquired prior TCEQ approval. This can save time and money for the system long term. Under some circumstances, TCEQ may require a system to have a Source Monitoring Plan

A TSMP describes which wells feed particular distribution system coliform sample sites. Essentially, it is a list of PWSC coliform sites, the sources that feed those sites, and a map of the distribution system illustrating this information

There are three parts to the plan

  • A description of which wells feed each entry pointsand which coliform monitoring sites are related to these entry points
  • A justification that explains how one well is representative of a group of wells.
  • A description of any interconnections with other systems that use wells.

Planning for the Future 

There are several measures Pattison Water Supply Corporation has taken to lessen the impact of disaster. Some of the more important measures included making sure the system has adequate financial reserves for general repairs and equipment replacement. PWSC also conducts regular checks on their repair parts and emergency backup equipment to make sure everything functions properly

More specifically, PWSC has incorporated the following measures into their Standard Operating Procedures

  • Established a list of emergency contacts with a chain-of-command
  • Protecting office records, electronic equipment, computers 
  • Making sure the ground storage tanks are filled to capacity and secure

Keeping good records is of the utmost importance to PWSC. Officials know that this will help the system's efforts in assessing damage and evaluating restoration costs. PWSC's emergency response plan addresses problems that could develop in the event of water supply shortages, or a contamination incident that impacts the system's ability to supply ad adequate quantity of safe drinking water to the public

Pattison Water Supply Corporation's emergency response plan also focuses on the identification of problems that may arise if protective and preventative measures fail. It also states solution to resolve potential problems by issuing well notices and contacting surround area water systems. Questions used to help in the planning of this emergency response plan are as follows

  • Based upon prioritization of the Contaminant Source Inventory List, what are the most likely and significant threats to our system's water supplies?
  • What specific steps can we take to address existing and potential threats?
  • Who is responsible for each step in responding to emergency situations, and how will the response actions be coordinated
  • What temporary and permanent replacement water supplies can be obtained if needed? 
  • What technical, logistic and financial resources can be obtained? 

Pattison Water Supply Corporation has also implemented a Hazardous Spill Contingency Plan.


SWPP Steering Committee

The Steering Committee is comprised of key stakeholders in the Pattison WSC community and their role is to provide continuity between the written plan and its implementation within each stakeholder's area of responsibility.

Steering Committee responsibilities include:

  • Conducting annual survey of the Capture Zones around each well and determine if anything has changes since the previous survey
  • Conduct an annual meeting of the Steering Committee to recommend changes that maybe required to the Source Water Protection Plan or the Wellhead Protection Contingency Plan
  • Make recommendations as to which Best Management Practices they feel the water system should be concentrating on each year
  • Be proactive in maintaining awareness of population and business changes that are taking place within the system's Capture Zone

Pattison WSC Office

Education on updated state requirements located:

Education on water conservation on located:

Public water protection and conservation articles in PWSC Newsletters

Enclose informational flyers via mailing system

Include water protection information as a part of the Water Quality Report

Public educational newsletters pertaining to Source Water Protection

Have TCEQ, EPA and other informative brochures available for customers to pick up when visiting the PWSC office