Cattaraugus Creek Basin Aquifer System
Cattaraugus Creek Basin Aquifer System
Federal Register Notice
Volume 52, No. 186, Page 36100
- SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION
- I. Background
- II. Basis for the Determination
- III. Description of the Cattaraugus Creek Basin Aquifer System of Cattaraugus, Erie, Wyoming, and Allegany Counties, and its Recharge Zone
- IV. Information Utilized in Determination
- V. Project Review
- VI. Summary and Discussion of Public Comments
- VII. Economic and Regulatory Impact
- VIII. Summary
Environmental Protection Agency
Notice is hereby given that, pursuant to Section 1424(e) of the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Regional Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Region II, has determined that the Cattaraugus Creek Basin Aquifer System (CCBA), underlying portions of Cattaraugus, Erie, Wyoming, and Allegany Counties, New York, is the sole or principal source of drinking water for the entire townships of Freedom and Yorkshire; and parts of Arcade, Sardinia, Concord, Ashford, Centerville, Rushford, Farmersville, Machias, Ellicotville, East Otto, Otto, Persia, Collins, Java, Wethersfield and Eagle Townships, and that this aquifer, if contaminated, would create a significant hazard to public health. As a result of this action, all Federal financially assisted projects constructed in the Cattaraugus Creek Basin will be subject to EPA review to ensure that these projects are designed and constructed such that they do not create a significant hazard to public health.
This determination shall be promulgated for purposes of judicial review 1:00 P.M. Eastern Daylight time on October 9, 1987.
ADDRESS: The date on which these findings are based are available to the public and may be inspected during normal business hours at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Ground Water Management, 26 Federal Plaza, New York, New York 10278.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: John S. Malleck, Office of Ground Water Management, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region II at 212-264-5635.
Section 1424(e) of the Safe Drinking Water Act (42 U.S.C., 300f, 300h-3(e), Pub. L. 93-523) states:
(e) If the Administrator determines, on his own initiative or upon petition, that an area has an aquifer which is the sole or principal drinking water source for the area and which, if contaminated, would create a significant hazard to public health, he shall publish a notice of the determination in the Federal Register. After the publication of any such notice, no commitment for Federal financial assistance (through a grant, contract, loan guarantee, or otherwise) may be entered into for any project which the Administrator determines may contaminate such aquifer through a recharge zone so as to create a significant hazard to public health, but a commitment for Federal financial assistance may, if authorized under another provision of law, be entered into to plan or design the project to assure that it will not so contaminate the aquifer.
On March 9, 1987, the Administrator duly delegated to the Regional Administrator the authority to determine, under section 1424(e) of the Safe Drinking Water Act, 21 U.S.C. 300h-3(e), that an area has an aquifer which is the sole or principal source of drinking water for the area and which, if contaminated, would create a significant hazard to public health.
On February 28, 1985, EPA received a petition from the Southtown Homeowners Association (Helen Feraldi, Secretary-Treasurer), which petitioned EPA to designate the CCBA a sole source aquifer (SSA). On January 23, 1986 EPA published a notice in the Federal Register which served to reprint the petition, announce a public comment period, and to set a public hearing date. A public hearing was conducted on February 25, 1986 and the public was permitted to submit comments and information on the petition until March 25, 1986.
Among the factors to be considered by the Agency in connection with the designation of an area under section 1424(e) of the SDWA are (1) whether the CCBA is the area's sole or principal source of drinking water and (2) whether contamination of the aquifer would create a significant hazard to public health. On the basis of technical information available to this Agency, the following are the finding for the determination noted above:
1. The CCBA currently provides more than 50 percent of the drinking water used by aquifer service area residents. Investigations by the Agency indicate that the CCBA serves as the "sole source" of drinking water for approximately 20,182 persons in the service area, representing 100 percent of the population.
2. There is no existing alternative drinking water source or combination of sources capable of providing 50 percent or more of the drinking water to the designated area, nor is there any available cost effective future source capable of supplying the drinking water demands for the Cattaraugus Creek Basin communities.
3. The CCBA consists of coarse sand and gravel deposits, above and below less permeable glacial till and lacustrine sediments, and fractured shale bedrock. As a result of its highly permeable soil characteristics, the aquifer is susceptible to contamination through its recharge zone from a number of sources including, but not limited to, chemical spills, highway and urban area runoff, septic systems, leading storage (above and underground) tanks, and landfill leachate. Since ground water contamination can be difficult or sometimes impossible to remediate and since the afore-mentioned communities rely on the CCBA for drinking water purposes, contamination of the aquifer would pose a significant threat to public health.
III. Description of the Cattaraugus Creek Basin Aquifer System of Cattaraugus, Erie, Wyoming, and Allegany Counties, and its Recharge Zone
The CCBA is composed of permeable sand and gravel deposits above and below lacustrine clay and glacial till, and fractured shale bedrock. The aquifer area is approximately 325 square miles of the southern-most part of the Erie-Niagara River drainage basin in New York State. The designation area in which Federal financially assisted projects will be subjected o review is the CCBA in portions of Cattaraugus, Erie, Wyoming, and Allegany Counties. The boundary of both the designated area and aquifer service area is the drainage divide of the Cattaraugus Creek Basin upstream from a point approximately two miles southeast of the Town of Gowanda.
For purposes of this designation, the CCBA is considered to include the entire townships of Freedom and Yorkshire; and parts of Arcade, Sardinia, Concord, Ashford, Centerville, Rushford, Farmersville, Machias, Ellicotville, East Otto, Otto, Persia, Collins, Java, Wethersfield and Eagle Townships. Because the Cattaraugus Creek Basin is covered with permeable sediments, the recharge zone, where water percolates directly to the aquifer, includes the entire areal extent of the CCBA.
The information utilized in this determination includes the petition, written and verbal comments submitted by the public, and various technical publications. The above data are available to the public and may be inspected during normal business hours at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region II, Office of Ground Water Management, Room 805, 26 Federal Plaza, New York, N.Y. 10278.
When EPA publishes this determination for a sole or principal drinking water source, the consequence is that no commitment for Federal financial assistance may be made if the Regional Administrator finds that the Federally-assisted project may contaminate the aquifer through a recharge zone so as to create a significant hazard to public health (Safe Drinking Water Act Section 1424(e), 42 U.S.C. 300h3(e)). In many cases, these Federally-assisted projects may also be analyzed in an "Environmental Impact Statement" (EIS) under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) 42 U.S.C. 4332(2)(C). All EIS's, as well as any other proposed Federal actions affecting an EPA program or responsibility, are required by Federal law (under the so-called "NEPA/309" process) to be review-ed and commented upon by the EPA Administrator. (42 U.S.C. 7609 required EPA to conduct this review. The "309" in a "NEPA/ 309" derives from the original source of this general requirement, sect ion 309 of the Clean Air Act).
Therefore, in order to streamline EPA's review of the possible environmental impacts on designated aquifers, when an action is analyzed in an EIS, the two reviews will be consolidated and both authorities will be cited. The EPA review (under the Safe Drinking Water Act) of federally-assisted projects potentially affecting sole or principal source aquifers will be in the EPA review (under the "NEPA/309" process) of any EIS accompanying the same federally-assisted project. The letter transmitting EPA's comments on the final EIS to the lead agency will be the vehicle for informing the lead agency of EPA's actions under section 1424(e).
Nearly all of the comments received from the public were in favor of the designation. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) expressed opposition, based on the nature and extent of the aquifers, the limits of the designation area, and calculations that less than 50 percent of the population in the petition area is dependent on ground water supplies. The NYSDEC defined the aquifer extent only considering the upper, unconfined aquifer. In addition, the extent of the SSA designation area has been refined since the original petition, and now delineates the actual recharge and streamflow source zone. With its present areal extent, the SSA designation area provides 100 percent of its population with drinking water from ground water resources. Cohen & Lombardo, P.C., representing C.I.D. Landfill, Inc., opposed SSA designation because (1) the CCBA is not listed as a "primary" aquifer by the NYSDEC, (2) less than 50 percent of the population is served by the CCBA, (3) th e Sardinia aquifer is not contiguous to the other aquifers and should not be included in the designation, and (4) the C.I.D.landfill does not overlay the aquifer, nor does it contaminate the Sardinia aquifer.
The Federal SSA Program, as administered by EPA, is based on criteria independent of any state ground water program; as indicated previously, EPA evaluation indicated that 100 percent of the SSA area population uses ground water from the CCBA for drinking water supplies; the Sardinia aquifer, as well as the Springville aquifer, are both part of the CCBA; and the presence or absence of potential sources of contamination is not a criterion EPA uses when making a SSA designation decision.
The area considered for designation was determined to meet the criteria of an area which depends upon an aquifer for its sole or principal drinking water source and which, if contaminated, would pose a serious threat to the health of the residents of Cattaraugus, Erie, Wyoming, and Allegany Counties.
Pursuant to the provisions of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), I hereby certify that the attached rule will not have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities. For purposes of this Certification the "small entity" shall have the same meaning as given in Section 601 of the RFA. This action is only applicable to the Cattaraugus, Erie, Wyoming, and Allegany County areas. The only affected entities will be those area-based business, organizations or governmental jurisdictions that request Federal financial assistance for projects which have the potential for contaminating the aquifer so as to create a significant hazard to public health. EPA does not expect to be reviewing small isolated commitments of financial assistance on an individual basis, unless a cumulative impact on the aquifer is anticipated; accordingly, the number of affected small entities will be minimal.
For those small entities which are subject to review, the impact of today's action will not be significant. Most projects subject to this review will be preceded by a ground water impact assessment required pursuant to other Federal laws, such as the National Environmental Policy Act, as amended at 42 U.S.C. 4321, et seq.
Integration of those related review procedures with Sole Source Aquifer review will allow EPA and other Federal agencies to avoid delay or duplication of effort in approving financial assistance, thus minimizing any adverse effect on those small entities which are affected. Finally, today's action does not prevent grants of Federal financial assistance which may be available to any affected small entity in order to pay for the redesign of the project to assure protection of the aquifer.
Under Executive Order 12291, EPA must judge whether a regulation is "major" and therefore, subject to the requirement of a Regulatory Impact Analysis. This regulation is not "major" because it will not have an annual effect of $100 million or more on the economy, will not cause any major increase in costs of products and will not have significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or the ability of United States enterprises to compete in domestic or export markets.
Today's action only affects the CCBA of the Cattaraugus, Erie, Wyoming, and Allegany County areas. It provides an additional review of ground water protection measures, incorporating, State and local measures whenever possible, for only those projects which request Federal financial assistance.
Dated: September 3, 1987.
Christopher J. Daggett, Regional Administrator
Environmental Protection Agency, Region II.
[FR Doc. 8722156 Filed 9/24/87; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 656050M