The Source Water Assessment and Protection (SWAP) Program was established in 1996 by the USEPA as part of the Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments. SWAP emphasized the importance of source water protection as a pollution prevention tool that can be used as part of a comprehensive multi-barrier approach to source water protection. States were required to:
- Delineate recharge areas for all public drinking water sources
- Inventory land uses within these recharge areas
- Assess the susceptibility of sources to contamination
- Publicize the results
Protecting sources of drinking water is essential for maintaining and improving the quality of human health and the environment. Source water assessments characterize the susceptibility of a drinking water source to contamination by summarizing information about the activities and land uses within recharge areas. Potential sources of contamination are identified to use as support for planning decisions. Information gathered during the assessment process was incorporated into recommendations for actions that can be taken at the local level to protect drinking water sources.