What We Do

Potomac River Basin Drinking Water Source Protection Partnership

The original member organizations finalized an organizational framework and a resolution to form the Partnership on April 13, 2004. The Partnership was officially launched at a ceremony held on September 24, 2004, at Little Seneca Reservoir in Black Hill Regional Park near Germantown, Maryland. The event included a formal signing of the Partnership resolution by the 16 charter members along with displays by members, water-related artwork by school children, and a symbolic tree-planting ceremony.

At the August 9, 2005, meeting of the Partnership, a Strategic Plan for source water protection in the Potomac River basin was adopted. This plan outlines the priorities and projects that the Partnership will be pursuing in the coming years. An update to the plan was completed in 2011.


To address the priority issues identified in the source water assessments and during the strategic planning process, workgroups were created to focus efforts. Over time, the groups have changed to accommodate evolving priorities. The current workgroups and objectives are:

  • Agricultural Issues

    • Work to build alliances with the agricultural community in order to minimize water pollution in the region’s sources of drinking water. Work primarily with state and local academic institutions and agencies that can provide technical, extension, and veterinarian support.
    • Aim to prevent other difficult-to-treat drinking water contaminants (e.g. Phosphorus, pesticides, and pharmaceuticals) from agricultural land as well.
  • Early Warning and Emergency Response

    • Better prepare the Partnership’s member utilities to respond in the event of a spill or other incident that affects their water supplies.
    • Engage emergency response agencies and with operators/owners of significant hazardous materials and waste sources to improve the mutual understanding of water supply vulnerabilities and emergency response preparedness.
  • Contaminants of Emerging Concern

    • This workgroup contains two subcommittees:
      • Microplastics
      • PFAS
    • Focused on microplastics, per- and poly-fluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS), harmful algal blooms and associated cyanotoxins, and on other chemicals or contaminants of emerging concern – specifically, their identity, sources, distribution, possible human and ecological health effects, treatability, and control through management practices.
    • Track legislative and regulatory actions, and research and monitoring of persistent and newly identified threats posed to source water quality.
  • Reaching Out

    • Inform and educate the public and water professionals about DWSPP activities and initiatives.
    • Support activities of the other workgroups.
    • Produce materials and conduct outreach activities to help move DWSPP toward its goals.
    • Recruit and engage new members.
  • Urban and Industrial Issues

    • Focused on urban and industrial stormwater issues including urban and highway runoff and other point and non-point discharges associated with storm activity.
    • Promote implementation of better stormwater management practices and integration of the Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act.
    • Evaluate the impact of road deicers and winter salt use on the Potomac.
    • Track urban land use trends and stormwater management practices.
  • Water Quality

    • Maintain a list of resources leading to available water quality information for the Potomac basin.
    • Support the other workgroups by serving as a resource on water quality databases and by helping with analysis and mapping of data as required.
    • Published PFAS in the Potomac River Basin.

Additional Information