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IMPLEMENTING A SOURCE WATER PROTECTION PROGRAM THROUGH PARTNERSHIPS IN LOUDOUN COUNTY, VIRGINIA

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Loudoun County, Virginia, is the second-fastest-growing county in the United States. As development pressures increase near Beaverdam and Goose Creek Reservoirs in the county, the Loudoun County Sanitation Authority (LCSA) developed a Source Water Protection Program (SWPP) to protect its drinking water supply, which is now in the implementation phase.

Loudoun County currently has a predominately rural character, with agricultural crops and cattle and horse farms mixed with estate properties and several towns, including Leesburg. As the metropolitan Washington, DC, area expands, the eastern area of the county, which includes the reservoirs, is increasingly being tapped for urban development.

The Goose Creek SWPP includes detailed source water protection plans for the zones closest to the intakes and contains specific recommendations for protection of water quality and minimization of stream degradation. In addition, a framework for source water protection has been developed that includes recommendations and tools to assist in the management of infrastructure and development projects.

Implementation challenges for the Goose Creek SWPP include stakeholder coordination and involvement. Many of the activities identified to protect the source water are beyond LCSA's jurisdiction. Loudoun County has authority over all the required program areas and will need to lead the implementation process. Other implementation partners include the City of Fairfax, which owns the reservoir and the water treatment plant; regulatory agencies (the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and the Virginia Department of Historical Resources); homeowners associations; property owners; several very active environmental groups; the development community; and elected and appointed officials.

Implementation will be eased by utilizing enabling legislation and regulations (e.g., National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System, Total Maximum Daily Load, floodplain management, erosion and sediment control) to address many of the source water protection issues.

This paper will address how LCSA is addressing the specific challenges associated with development and implementation of this SWPP in a watershed affected by diverse views on growth and how partnerships with other agencies, environmental groups, and other stakeholders has been essential to successful implementation.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 January 2004

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