What can I do to protect my drinking water?

Keeping Idaho's Water Clean

Are Your Homestead Practices Affecting Your Drinking Water Supplies?

The Homestead Assessment System provides you with accurate first-hand information about how your homestead structures, such as your well or septic system, and activities such as pesticide storage or manure handling might affect your drinking water. Some homesite practices and structures pose high risks of contaminating ground water and your drinking water supplies. Others pose a low risk or virtually no risk of contamination at all. Your drinking water is least likely to be contaminated if you follow appropriate management procedures or dispose of wastes in a location that is off the homesite. Proper offsite disposal practices are, however, essential to avoid contaminating the water supplies and health of others.

Some of the information you obtain will be reassuring. Some of it may encourage you to consider modifying your structures or practices. Either way, you will have the information you need to do the best possible job of protecting the ground water you depend upon for your family’s drinking water.

Participating in the Idaho Home*A*Syst project is entirely voluntary. The materials have been designed as a confidential service for Idaho residents. Users of the materials decide what to do with the results of their own assessments and keep them as their private records.

What is the Homestead Assessment System?

  • The Homestead Assessment System (Home*A*Syst) is a series of fact/worksheets that will help you assess how effectively your homestead practices and structures protect your drinking water.
  • The worksheets ask you about your homestead structures and activities. Your answers will help you see how your homestead practices might affect your well water.
  • Corresponding material will provide information about practices and structures that can help reduce the risk of ground-water contamination. Each fact/worksheet also contains information on who to call for help and addtional references on each topic.

Though field practices also have the potential to contaminate ground water, the Home*A*Syst series is not designed to address these concerns. These worksheets deal with the potential effect of practices and structures on or near your homestead upon your drinking water supplies.