Wellhead Protection Program

Source Water/Ground Water Protection

The Spencer water supply obtains its water from a shallow “alluvial aquifer”. An alluvial aquifer is a geological formation capable of yielding enough water to supply a well or spring. The Ocheyedan-Little Sioux alluvial aquifer, where Spencer Municipal Utilities wells are located, has been determined to be highly susceptible to contamination because the characteristics of the aquifer and overlying materials allow contaminants to move through the aquifer fairly quickly.

SMU’s wells will be most susceptible to activities such as: underground storage tanks, industrial sites, and hazardous water generators.

To help protect Spencer’s groundwater supply, Spencer Municipal Utilities has been working to implement a “Wellhead Protection Program”. SMU has evaluated the characteristics of the aquifer, and has begun taking steps to protect it. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has also conducted a detailed evaluation of the sourcewater. Both documents are available for review at Spencer Municipal Utilities, or you may call us with questions at 580-5800.

Water and Contamination

Water is one of the most unique substances on Earth. It is the only compound on our planet that can exist as a solid, a liquid, and a gas simultaneously. Water is one of the few things we truly cannot live without.

Water is also unique because everything dissolves in water to some degree. That characteristic means that it is relatively easy for minerals, chemicals, and other substances to become mixed with water. Many of those substances are not harmful. Some, like fluoride, are actually good for us. Others, like chemical substances used in manufacturing, can cause long-term health effects. And organic substances such as bacteria can make us very sick very quickly.

Fortunately, the water supply received by Spencer homes and businesses is very clean. In fact, of the 80 contaminants SMU monitors according to EPA guidelines, only a few are at levels that can be detected in laboratory tests.

While our water supply is clean now, that doesn’t mean it couldn’t become contaminated. If a hazardous chemical were to enter our underground aquifer near the airport, SMU could be forced to close it’s wells and find other sources of water. Those expenses would be borne by each and every one of us as customers and owners of SMU. By beginning a program of Wellhead Protection now, we can limit the risks of contamination, and help assure the clean water we drink now will also be there for our children and grandchildren.

See the City of Spencer Code for details.