The purpose of wellhead protection is to protect groundwater resources of community public water supplies to reduce the potential for ground and surface water contamination. Between 2000 - 2005 the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) published a series of Source Water Assessments for each of the county's community water systems that rely on groundwater. These assessments addressed the following:
In 2007, Frederick County adopted a Wellhead Protection Ordinance, which only applies to the county's jurisdiction. The ordinance established wellhead protection areas for all community groundwater supply systems, amended a section of the county code to include new regulations for hazardous substance storage tanks, and prohibited certain land uses and activities within designated wellhead protection areas. Several municipalities have adopted their own wellhead protection ordinances including Middletown, Mt. Airy, Walkersville, Myersville, and Frederick.
Designation of Wellhead Protection Districts
The designation of Wellhead Protection Districts, and careful regulation of activities within these districts, can reduce the potential for ground and surface water contamination. Public drinking water systems in Frederick County draw on both ground water (i.e., wells) and surface water (i.e. lakes and rivers) sources.
The State of Maryland has completed source water assessments of each public drinking water system and has delineated a Wellhead Protection Area (WHPA), which contributes water recharge to that source. Potential sources of contamination within that WHPA were also identified. It will be up to local governments to determine whether or not they wish to regulate activity within the WHPAs to reduce the potential for ground and surface water contamination.
Workshop on Local Regulations
On Friday, June 9, 2006, the Board of County Commissioners held a workshop to hear from several speakers about the state and local regulations on chemical and petroleum storage tanks with regard to protecting public water supply groundwater resources. This workshop is available on DVD.
Changes to the Zoning Ordinance
On May 26, 2007 the Board of County Commissioner approved a series of changes to the Zoning Ordinance, which brought the definition of Wellhead Protection Area and Hazardous Material up to date with accepted usage. The sections dealing with tanks and hazardous materials storage were amended to further protect public drinking water supplies.