Region 3 Source Water Protection Leadership Forum Held this Week

EPA Region 3 hosted a one-day Source Water Protection Leadership Forum this week in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and ASDWA staff attended.  The Forum was entitled, “Building Connections and Exploring Solutions for Clean and Safe Water.”  Participants included representatives from the Region 3 states and the District of Columbia, EPA, water utilities, and local collaboratives and watershed partners.  Shawn Garvin, EPA Region 3’s Administrator, and Jon Capacasa, Director of EPA Region 3’s Water Protection Division, kicked off the meeting with welcoming remarks about the Region’s leading efforts to protect drinking water sources that started with the nation’s first water system in Philadelphia and have expanded to include many proactive efforts going on in each of Region 3’s river basins.
During the Forum, presentations and discussions focused on a variety of topics such as:  presentations about the National Source Water Collaborative’s activities and resources; West Virginia and Delaware’s source water protection regulatory requirements; panel discussions on forming and sustaining collaboratives; challenges associated with nutrients;  monitoring, and modeling; and a breakout session and lightning round where participants shared their thoughts on connecting with new and traditional partners, funding challenges, and opportunities for EPA and states to help further local source water protection efforts and activities.  Some of the suggestions for EPA and states included the need for:

  • Help with promoting the value of water by developing better “branding” for tap water, sharing good news stories, creating messages, and being more transparent about impacts from pollutants;
  • Help with implementing source water protections plans that will take these plans to the next level and drive local actions;
  • Better coordination across Federal and state programs for drinking water, clean water, and water resources, hazard mitigation and emergency response, transportation, and oil and gas pipelines, to foster a more integrated planning approach to protect source waters; and
  • More research on contaminants of emerging concern, and prioritizing land areas for conservation and best practices, that will achieve the greatest benefits for water quality.

For more information about source water protection efforts going on in Region 3, check out the following websites for the:  Delaware River Watershed Initiative, Susquehanna River Basin Commission, Christina Basin Clean Water Partnership, and the Potomac River Basin Drinking Water Source Protection Partnership.