Local Wellhead Protection Ordinances

Indiana Department of Environmental Management

Local Wellhead Protection (WHP) Ordinances

A local ordinance, or zoning overlay, defines the activities and land uses that are allowed within a wellhead protection area on a city or countywide level with the goal of protecting groundwater and source water.

Local WHP Ordinances Matter

Local ordinance help to fill in regulatory gaps that may exist between what a community wants to be protected and what the state regulates.

  • Designates how to protect your Wellhead Protection Area
  • Addresses concerns before they arise
  • Gives clear expectations for businesses and industry in your town or county
  • Assists businesses in knowing what they are required to do to prevent water contamination
  • Bonus: Can be county wide to include all WHP areas within your county

Topics That Can be Addressed with a Local WHP Ordinance

Your community may have specific concerns related to WHP that you would want to include in your local WHP ordinance. Here are some topics you may want to address in your local Wellhead Protection ordinance. These may help you think of other items that your community may value.

  • Infiltration and injection of storm water (particularly if not in MS4)
  • Mining activities
  • Industrial zoning
  • Land use activities that may impact groundwater
  • Underground storage tanks (USTs)
  • Pesticide and fertilizer use on public properties

Elements to Consider Including in a Local WHP Ordinance

Once your community has figured out what you want to address with your local WHP ordinance then you need to draft the document. Elements you may want to include in your WHP ordinance document are listed below. These elements can help to make sure that your community has spelled out the specific regulations you would like, how to abide by the regulations, and how the regulation is enforced.

  • Map of enforcement area for zoning overlay
  • Land use activities
  • Restrictions
  • Permitting
  • Groundwater monitoring
  • Enforcement and penalties

Local Government Agencies and Groups to Consider Working With

Creating a local ordinance can seem daunting but your community may have an agency, office, or group that is familiar with these topics or types of ordinances and may be able to help or collaborate with you.

  • Health Department
  • Zoning
  • Permitting
  • Planning
  • Surveyor
  • County Commissioners
  • MS4
  • Solid Waste Management District
  • Soil and Water Conservation District

Communities with Local WHP Ordinances

Here are some examples of how communities in Indiana have adopted their own local WHP ordinances:

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