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Application of a geographic information system in New Jerseys Wellhead Protection Program



Application of a geographic information system in New Jerseys Wellhead Protection Program



Proceedings of the Annual ESRI User Conference 9: 1-12



The United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) has strongly recommended that each state develop a Wellhead Protection (WHP) program to provide for long-range protection of ground-water resources (USEPA, 1987). A WHP program is designed to delineate Wellhead Protection Areas (WHPA) around water-supply wells. New or existing monitoring, enforcement, and remediation efforts can then be focused within these WHPAs. A WHPA approximates the surface "footprint" of the underground region from which a well receives water. The goal of the WHP program in New Jersey is to prevent contamination of water-supply wells. A recent WHP pilot study completed in Camden County New Jersey (Schooley and O'Brien, 1989) by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), New Jersey Geological Survey (NJGS), confirms that the Geographic Information System (GIS) will be a valuable tool in several aspects of the New Jersey WHP program. The GIS can help to accomplish the program goals cost-effectively by: eliminating wells from the program which are not susceptible to contamination; prioritizing the remaining wells for WHPA delineation, and; targeting problem sites for more intensive monitoring, enforcement, and remediation efforts. In order for the GIS to be effectively applied in the WHP program, it is essential that accurate well coordinates reside in the system. As part of the Camden County Pilot Project, a well coordinate accuracy test was performed. The results of this test indicate that a well database plan needs to be developed which incorporates the collection of accurate coordinates for public water-supply wells in New Jersey.

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