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Energy and Environment Cabinet

Division of Water

Division of Water
Wellhead Protection

The 1986 amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) required states to develop a wellhead protection program to protect public water supplies using groundwater as their water source.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved Kentucky's Wellhead Protection Program (WHPP) in September 1993. Kentucky's WHPP is coordinated by the Division of Water's Water Quantity Management Section and is regulated through the Water Supply Planning Regulation KAR 401 4:220. This regulation requires that counties develop county or regional water supply plans that assess the quantity of water used by their public water systems and formulate protection plans for the source waters used by those systems. WHPP is designed to assist those communities relying on groundwater as their source to develop groundwater protection strategies.

Source Water Protection Assistance Program

Kentucky’s Wellhead Protection Areas Online
Kentucky’s Wellhead Protection Areas are available as a shapefile through the Kentucky Geoportal and is a part of Kentucky's Watershed Viewer.

Developing a Wellhead Protection Plan: Kentucky’s Five-Step Program
Step 1: Form a Planning Team
Step 2: Delineate the Wellhead or Spring Protection Area
Step 3: Contaminant Source Inventory
Step 4: Manage Contaminant Sources
Step 5: Plan for the Future

Developing and Submitting a Wellhead Protection Plan
Original plans are submitted in two phases: Phase I and Phase II. Please complete and submit Phase I before beginning work on Phase II.

Wellhead Protection Plans are reviewed by the water system every year and resubmitted to the DOW every five years using the 5-Year Update Form.

The Wellhead Protection Plan Summary and Wellhead Protection Plan 5-Year Update Flow Chart may be helpful when completing a plan.

Implementing a Wellhead Protection Plan
Effective communication and management of potential contaminant sources within the Wellhead Protection Area is essential for a plan to be successful. The majority of management strategies focus on public education.

Water Supply Protection Signage

Standard design water supply protection area signs are available for distribution along major state roadways that intersect Source Water or Wellhead Protection Area boundaries. To request information on water supply protection area signs, please contact the wellhead staff.

The following links provide information on best management practices, low-Impact development, and other ways to reduce the amount of non point source pollution generated within a wellhead protection area:

There are many options available for reaching the public through the Division of Water and other agencies. The Project WET program offers lesson plans for water education for ages 5-18. National FFA Organization has developed Source Water Protection Lessons Drinking Water: Protecting the Source for grades 9-12.

Regulatory Enforcement
Groundwater Protection Plans are required under 401 KAR 5:037 for any activity that has the potential to pollute groundwater. For more information on which activities the plans are required for and how to develop plans, please visit the Groundwater Protection Plans website.
Additional Information
Please contact the Wellhead Staff, by email at or by phone at 502-782-7029, for additional information about any of the above topics or the Wellhead Protection Program.


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