Wellhead Protection

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Wellhead Protection

The water that Tumwater residents drink and use for other domestic needs comes from an underground aquifer. Our region is blessed with abundant, high quality ground water; however, the continued availability of this resource depends on thoughtful land use practices. The ground beneath our feet is underlain by layers of porous, unconsolidated glacial sediment. Rainwater can freely seep into our aquifer and so can contaminants spilled on the ground surface. Ground water contamination has the potential to render water supplies unusable for many years. To protect this resource the City of Tumwater enacted a Wellhead Protection Ordinance (TMC 16.26) and implements a Wellhead Protection Program to ensure safe, potable water for our customers and residents. The City is committed to protecting water quality for its residents without the need for additional chemical additives or expensive treatment.

Wellhead Protection Ordinance

The main function of the ordinance is to define the boundaries of the wellhead protection areas and describe what uses are prohibited within different zones of the wellhead protection area. For example, the ordinance prohibits “hazardous waste transfer, storage and disposal facilities” in the entire wellhead protection area, and within a smaller zone close to the wells the City prohibits gas stations. See the municipal code for a full list of prohibited uses.

Wellhead Protection Program

The wellhead protection program supports the City’s mission of maintaining high quality drinking water by ensuring that those who use, store, and dispose of hazardous materials do so in the safest manner possible. To support this goal, City staff work with Thurston County Environmental Health to inspect businesses that operate within the wellhead protection area. The City also conducts quarterly ground water monitoring at monitoring wells throughout the wellhead protection area. Our monitoring well network serves as an early warning system against issues that could impact our drinking water. If we detect contamination this would allow the City to take proactive measures to lessen the impact to our system.

Potential sources of contamination include:

  • Septic systems

  • Leaky tanks or pipelines

  • Chemical leaks or spills

  • Landfills

  • Cemeteries

  • Stormwater runoff

For assistance

For more information, or to schedule a free technical assistance visit to your business, please call Water Resources at (360) 754-4140 or send an e-mail.