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The City of Valparaiso was the first community in Indiana to receive approval (February 11, 1999) of their Phase I Wellhead Protection Plan. The Valparaiso Water Department manages the production of groundwater from 16 wells located within 3 wellfields, and serves a population of approximately 33,000 residents.
Because of the city's early Phase I approval, they were also the first system required to submit their Phase II Wellhead Protection Plan, which was approved by IDEM on April 10, 2006.
The city has taken measures beyond what is required and delineated their wellhead protection area out to a 10-year time-of-travel rather than a 5-year time-of-travel.
Other initiatives and accomplishments include the hiring of a full-time Wellhead Protection Administrator, co-sponsoring a Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day with the local solid waste management district, conducting a Storm Drain Stenciling Project with the Youth Service Bureau, creating a city and a county wellhead protection ordinance, sponsoring an IDEM 5-Star Environmental Program presentation to local auto repair shops and dry cleaners, developing a Drinking Water Week celebration program, working with the local newspaper to place articles in the paper relating to drinking water protection, and attending city and county site reviews to disseminate wellhead protection information to new residents and businesses that plan to locate within a protection area.
Additionally, the city has installed a Rain Garden at the water department office to control and filter runoff from the office parking lot. The city uses this project as an example for others to follow, and has developed a promotional brochure to distribute to residents and businesses within the protection area.
Finally, the city applied for and received a Groundwater Guardian Community award from the national Groundwater Foundation for its efforts in protecting the community drinking water supply.
For further information about the City pf Valparaiso's programs, please visit their website at http://www.valparaisoutilities.org/ .
Photos were provided by Daryl Brown of the Valparaiso City Utilities