Land-use webinar to focus on planning to protect private water supplies

January 03, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — What local communities can do to assist the more than 3 million Pennsylvania residents served by private wells and springs to have potable drinking water for their homes and farms will be the topic of a web-based seminar offered by Penn State Extension.

Presenting the 75-minute webinar at noon on Jan. 17 will be Bryan Swistock, water resources senior extension associate, and Peter Wulfhorst, extension educator.

Private wells and springs are vital to the rural water infrastructure in Pennsylvania, according to Swistock; however, the state lacks regulations covering these private water supplies.

"That leaves many residents vulnerable to water quality and quantity issues, since many homeowners and farmers lack a proper understanding of the management of these water supplies," he said.

In the absence of state regulations and proper voluntary measures, some municipalities have attempted to fill the gap by enacting local ordinances for private water systems, Wulfhorst noted.

"These ordinances typically require a grout seal, sanitary well cap and setbacks from natural and man-made features," he said.

This webinar will provide results from more than 30 years of research and outreach at Penn State, with an eye toward helping planners understand private drinking water supplies, available resources for municipalities and homeowners, and what local municipal well ordinances should address.

"Planning to Protect Private Water Supplies" is the first webinar in the monthly Penn State Extension Winter/Spring Land Use Webinar Series that runs through May. The series assists elected and appointed municipal officials, planners, landowners, farmers and community organizations in dealing with land-use issues affecting their communities.

Other dates and topics in the webinar series include the following:

-- Feb. 21: "Land-Use Planning with a Changing Climate"

-- March 14: "Community Heart and Soul: Engaging Residents through the Humanities to Find What Matters Most"

-- April 11: "Addressing the Parking Challenge — Smart Parking Planning for Downtown Development"

-- May 16: "Sign Regulations that Encourage Outstanding Design"

All of these programs, which will be offered from noon to 1:15 p.m. Eastern time, will be recorded and available for viewing.

The cost of the webinar series is $40 for all five, or $75 for all five for those who want to receive certification maintenance credits from the American Planning Association and for professional engineers needing PDH credits.

In addition, registered landscape architects can receive continuing education credits for a fee of $45.

For more information, contact Wulfhorst at 570-296-3400 or To register for the webinars, go to the website.

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Last Updated January 03, 2018