Ohio's Source Water Environmental Education Teams

* Providing education and guidance to Ohioans on protecting their drinking water resources *

Children using ground water flow model​SWEET Fact Sheet with ContactsOhio's Source Water Environmental Education Teams (SWEET) provides Ohioans with education and guidance on protecting their sources of drinking water. Each team, organized by Ohio Department of Natural Resources, consists of three to five local water resources partners such as local health departments, watershed coordinators, and public water system operators. Each SWEET is equipped with a ground water flow model that demonstrates the behavior of ground water, movement of contamination, and the relationship of ground water to surface water.

SWEETs can attend public meetings or other events to help educate the community about the importance of protecting its drinking water supply. Schools can invite SWEETs to their classrooms to demonstrate ground water flow, contaminant transport, and source water protection by using the ground water flow model. And public water systems can utilize SWEETs when developing and implementing their community's Drinking Water Source Protection Plan.

Since October 2005, SWEETs have provided outreach to more than 40,000 Ohioans at almost 400 events, such as city meetings, festivals, county fairs, and schools!


Click on a county below for the SWEET contact. Uncolored counties do not currently have a coordinator.

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Adams County Athens County Cuyahoga County Belmont County Brown County Butler County Carroll County Champaign County Columbiana County Coshocton County Defiance County Delaware County Erie County Fairfield County Franklin County Fulton County Gallia County Greene County Guernsey County Highland County Hocking County Holmes and Wayne County Knox County Jefferson County Lake County Lawrence County Licking County Logan County Lucas County Madison County Mahoning County Medina County Meigs County Mercer County Miami County Montgomery County Muskingum County Noble County Ottawa County Perry County Pickaway County Portage County Preble County Richland County Scioto County Shelby County Summit County Trumbull County Tuscarawas County Union County Van Wert County Warren County Washington County Williams County Wyandot County Wood County

Ground Water and Rainmaker Simulators

Ground Water SimulatorGround water and how it becomes polluted are abstract concepts that are difficult for audiences of any age to understand.  Interactive teaching tools such as a ground water simulator have been very effective in demonstrating the impacts of point and non-point source pollution on water resources. A ground water simulator demonstrates, through the use of different colored dyes, how water as well as contaminants migrate through the environment and discharge into lakes, streams, and ground water wells.

Ohio SWEETs are using the enVision3000 simulator that demonstrates ground water and contaminant flow in sand and gravel (unconsolidated) and bedrock (consolidated) aquifers. The ground water simulator is also equipped with a failing septic system and a leaking underground storage tank.

ground water simulator with Rainmaker attachmentThe dye used in the simulator is a water-based food coloring and can be found in the baking aisle of most any food store. Blue, red and green food coloring is most visible to an audience.

Ohio SWEETs are also using enVision's optional Rainmaker attachment, which can be placed on top of the enVision3000 model to demonstrate recharge to surface and ground water.





Enviroscape Drinking Water and Wastewater Treatment Model


Some SWEETs are using the Enviroscape Drinking Water and Wastewater Treatment Model (the SWEET fact sheet indicates which team has this model). The model can show:

  • Drinking Water Sources and Treatment - shows where drinking water (residential and commercial, rural and urban) comes from and how it is delivered to us;
  • Wastewater Treatment - shows what happens to water and waste after we use it (how sewage/wastewater is treated)
  • What biosolids are and how they are being used or disposed.
  • How drinking water can become contaminated.

Students can trace the path of water we use in our communities:

  • from the river to the water treatment plant
  • from the treatment plant to houses and city buildings
  • from use in the houses and city to the wastewater treatment plant, and
  • from wastewater treatment back into the river

The model also includes:

  • Septic system and rural water sources
  • Stormwater discharged directly to a waterbody OR sent on to the wastewater treatment plant; and
  • Demonstration of a combined sewer overflow
  • Groundwater & much more!


Drinking Water

Drinking Water Treatment

Wastewater Treatment

Ground Water

Ground Water Quality/Contamination/Cleanup Methods

Surface Water

Source Water Protection

Water Cycle

Water Conservation

Ohio Geology

OSU Extension

Ohio Rules

State and Local Programs

National Programs

Conservation Programs


Emily Heppner
Ohio Department of Agriculture
Division of Soil & Water Conservation
8995 E. Main St.
Reynoldsburg, Ohio 43068
Phone: (614) 265-6682
Cell: (614) 326-9562
Email: emily.heppner@agri.ohio.gov

Dennis CLement
Ohio EPA, Office of Environmental Education
50 W. Town Street
Columbus, OH 43215-1049
Phone: (614) 644-2048
Email: dennis.clement@epa.ohio.gov