Source Water Protection

Hazen and Sawyer has experience helping large and small utilities assess potential vulnerabilities within their watershed from existing and proposed activities and develop plans to address high-priority vulnerabilities to reduce risks over time. Our source water planning work may entail highly focused risk assessments to understand potential impacts of specific watershed changes such as mining, oil and gas development, or large-scale land use changes. Alternately, we can assist utilities to understand activities in their watershed more broadly to identify potential areas of water quality improvement.

Risk Assessments: Risk assessments conducted by Hazen include identification of contaminant pathways, analysis of fate and transport of contaminants, regulatory controls on discharges, mitigation/response options, early warning detection technologies, and risks to treatment processes and supply reliability.

Water Quality Modeling: Hazen has experience with empirical, numerical, and mechanistic modeling platforms for watersheds, reservoirs, and free-flowing streams. Having the appropriate data and modeling results can assist utilities in making the best cost-effective decisions for managing watershed water quality.

Source Water Protection Planning: Many utilities may have already integrated strong source water protection practices into typical operations, even if they do not have a formal plan in place. Hazen has experience conducting gap analyses for utilities to establish priority areas necessary for formal plan development. We have helped utilities with workshops to establish consensus on vision and objectives for source water protection, as well as stakeholder engagement to build support for the plan.

Over half of the US population derives drinking water from surface water resources. The watersheds that serve as the source of these supplies are critical to the source water quality and the resulting level of treatment required. Unfortunately, water utilities rarely have complete control over their watershed. Examples of the types of potential problems that could impact water quality include:

  • Accidental spills and intentional discharges (chemicals, petroleum products, waste materials);
  • Nonpoint pollution (nutrients, sediment, pathogens, pesticides); and
  • Introduction of invasive species.
  • In addition, source water protection programs enacted by agencies responsible for watersheds can be important components of a multi-barrier approach to safe drinking water and can help balance the risks to water quality from human activities with the need for economic growth and development among the watershed’s communities. In such efforts, Hazen can leverage its technical expertise in all water-related fields to support public outreach within watershed management programs.

    For inquiries contact:
    Ben Wright