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EPA launches mapping tool to monitor drinking water sources

This past Friday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released DWMAPS – the Drinking Water Mapping Application to Protect Source Waters. This tool provides communities with vital information regarding their watershed, their water sources, and potential pollution around their region.

The EPA designed the tool to be easy enough for the general public to make use of, but intricate and in-depth to the point that it’s useful for state and federal agencies. Utilities and state agencies will be able to use DWMAPS in conjunction with their own local data to identity sources of contamination and to greatly improve the quality of their source water assessment and accidental spill or release management plans.

“A key part of having safe drinking water is protecting the sources – the streams, rivers, and lakes where utilities withdraw water,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “DWMAPS is the latest example of how EPA is using technology and digital tools to better protect public health and the environment.”

In a press release, the EPA explains that DWMAPS can provide users with information to update source water assessments and prioritize source water protection in any location or watershed in the country.

  • · Identify potential sources of contamination in locations defined by users;
  • · Find data to support source water assessments and plans to manage potential sources of contamination;
  • · Evaluate accidental spills and releases, identifying where emergency response resources for accidental releases must be readily available; and
  • · Promote integration of drinking water protection activities with other environmental programs at the EPA, state, and local levels.

The mapping system will not display the locations of Public Water System facility intakes (for obvious security reasons), but it does contain a wide variety of data useful to the protection of drinking water sources. This tool represents a fairly robust collaboration between the EPA, regional drinking water programs, state drinking water regulators, and public water systems.

Image: DWMAPS homescreen

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