Lyon & Sioux Rural Water System, Inc. with the help of the Iowa Rural Water Association has developed a Source Water Protection Plan to protect the system’s water drinking supply. The overall program involves identifying potential sources of contamination, delineation of the source water capture zones or source water protection areas, establishing a contingency plan, and promoting education and awareness. Education is one of the most important factors in Source Water Protection, without it, citizens and businesses would be uninformed about the hazards of groundwater contamination.

What Is Source Water Protection?

Source Water Protection is a free voluntary program established by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). These agencies are responsible for setting and enforcing safe drinking water standards and protecting natural resources, including groundwater. It involves protecting the land surrounding a drinking water well in order to prevent contamination of the groundwater that is likely to be drawn into the well during operation.
While voluntary at this time, Lyon & Sioux RWS has taken a proactive approach and developed a source water protection plan.

What Is Groundwater?

Groundwater is found in aquifers underlying the earth’s surface. There are several myths about aquifers we should clarify:

  • Aquifers are not underground lakes and reservoirs or rivers and streams. In fact, groundwater is stored in the air or pore spaces of earthen materials, be it rock or soil.
  • Typically, high quality aquifers are formed in limestone, sand, and gravel, while till (clay-rich soil) and shale (a mud rock) are of lower quality.
  • Throughout Iowa, groundwater can lie just below the land surface in aquifers. However, in some cases, groundwater can be located several thousand feet below the surface.
  • Precipitation (rain or snow) becomes groundwater by infiltrating soil and rock layers into an aquifer. This process is called recharge. Because the water was once at the surface, human activities can affect the quality of the water recharging our aquifers. People need to be aware of the processes groundwater goes through and how humans can impact the water they cook with, wash with, and of course, drink.
  • Some Potential Sources Of Contamination:

    • Abandoned wells
    • Underground storage tanks
    • Automotive repair facilities
    • Dry Cleaners
    • Car Washes
    • Landfills/dumps
    • Ag-chemicals
    • Past chemical or fuel spills/leaks
    • Confined animal feeding operations
    • If you find suspicious activity or problems near our water sources, please notify Lyon & Sioux RWS immediately to have it investigated. Please help protect your drinking water supply by supporting our Source Water Protection Plan.