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Clinton Street Ballpark Aquifer System Cattaraugus Creek Basin Aquifer System

Federal Register Notice

Volume 50, No. 9, Page 2025
Monday, January 14, 1985
Sole Source Aquifer Determination
for Clinton Street-Ballpark Valley Aquifer System of Broome and Tioga Counties, New York


  • AGENCY
  • ACTION
  • SUMMARY
  • DATES
  • SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION
  • AGENCY

    Environmental Protection Agency

    ACTION

    Notice.

    SUMMARY

    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) has determined that the Clinton Street-Ballpark Aquifer System, underlying the Broome and Tioga County areas is the sole or principal source of drinking water for the Vestal, Johnson City, Endicott, Nichols, Waverly and Owego, New York, and that the aquifer, if contaminated, would create a significant hazard to public health. As a result of this action, Federal financially assisted projects constructed in the Broome and Tioga County areas and their streamflow source zone (upstream portions of the Susquehanna River drainage basin) will be subject to EPA review to ensure that these projects are designed and constructed so that they do not create a significant hazard to public health.

    DATES

    This determination shall be promulgated for purposes of judicial review at 1:00 p.m. eastern time on January 28, 1985. This determination shall become effective on February 27, 1985.

    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, Water Supply Branch, 26 Federal Plaza, New York, New York 10278.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Damian J. Duda, Drinking/Ground Water Protection Branch, 26 Federal Plaza, New York, New York 10278, (212) 264-1800.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION

    I. Background

    Section 1424(e) of the Safe Drinking Water Act 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 February 26, 1981, the Purity of Water ad hoc Committee petitioned EPA to designate the Clinton Street-Ballpark Aquifer and Extension as a sole source aquifer. A final revised petition was submitted on June 21, 1981. On April 26, 1983, EPA published a notice in the Federal Register announcing a public comment period, and setting a public hearing date. A public hearing was conducted on May 26, 1983, and the public was allowed to submit comments on the petition until June 27, 1983.

    II. Basis for the Determination

    Among the factors to be considered by the Administrator in connection with the designation of a Sole Source Aquifer under section 1424(e) are: (1)

    Whether the aquifer 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 information available to this Agency, the Administrator has made the following findings, which are the basis for the determination noted above:

    1. The Clinton Street-Ballpark Valley Aquifer System of the Broome and Tioga County areas is the "sole source" of drinking water for approximately 127,555 residents of Vestal, Johnson City, Endicott, Nichols, Waverly and Owego, New York.

    2. There is no feasible existing alternative drinking water source or combination of sources which provide fifty percent or more of the drinking water to the designated area.

    3. The aquifer is overlain by permeable unconsolidated glacial and recent deposits. As a result of the permeable soil characteristics, the Clinton Street-Ballpark Valley Aquifer System of Broome and Tioga County area is highly susceptible to contamination through its recharge zone from a number of sources including, but not limited to, chemical spills, leachate from landfills, storm water runoff, highway deicers, faulty septic systems, wastewater treatment systems, and waste disposal lagoons. The aquifer is also susceptible to contamination to a lesser degree from the same sources, through its streamflow source zone. Since ground water contamination can be difficult or impossible to reverse and since the aquifer in this area is solely relied upon for drinking purposes by the population of the Broome and Tioga County areas, contamination of the aquifer could pose a significant threat to public health.

    III. Description of the Clinton Street-Ballpark Valley System of the Broome and Tioga County Areas, their Recharge Zone and their Streamflow Source Zone

    The Clinton Street-Ballpark Valley Aquifer System is composed of permeable glacial sediments covering bedrock valleys. The system, located in central New York, is fairly large, extending from the Pennsylvania border through both Broome and Tioga Counties. The area in which Federal financially assisted projects will be subject to review is the portion of the Clinton Street-Ballpark Valley Aquifer System in the Broome and Tioga County areas, the recharge zone and the streamflow source zone.

    For purposes of this designation, the Clinton Street-Ballpark valley Aquifer System is considered to include the entire municipalities of Vestal, Johnson City, Endicott, Nichols, Waverly and Owego, New York. Its recharge zone is considered to be one and the same with this area. The streamflow source zone is that portion of the Susquehanna River drainage basin composing the upstream headwaters area for the Broome and Tioga County area.

    IV. Information Utilized in Determination

    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, Drinking/Ground Water Protection Branch, 26 Federal Plaza, New York, New York 10278.

    V. Project Review

    EPA Region II is working with the Federal agencies that may in the future provide financial assistance to projects in the area of concern. Interagency procedures have been developed through which EPA will be notified of proposed commitments by Federal agencies for projects which could contaminate the Clinton Street-Ballpark Valley Aquifer System, upon which the Broome and Tioga County areas are dependent for their sole source water supply. EPA will evaluate such projects and, where necessary, conduct an in-depth review, including soliciting public comments where appropriate. Should the Administrator determine that a project may contaminate the aquifer through its recharge zone so as to create a significant hazard to the public health, no commitment for Federal financial assistance may be entered into. However, 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.

    Although the project review process cannot be delegated, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will rely to the maximum extent possible on any existing or future State and local control mechanisms in protecting the ground water quality of the Clinton Street-Ballpark Valley Aquifer System, upon which the Broome and Tioga County areas are dependent for their sole source water supply. Included in the review of any Federal financially assisted project will be coordination with State and local agencies. Their comments will be given full consideration and the Federal review process will attempt to complement and support State and local ground water protection mechanisms.

    VI. Summary and Discussion of Public Comments

    All comments at the public hearing were unanimously in favor of designation. Two commentors expressed the need to extend the area of consideration through Tioga County.

    Most of the written comments submitted were in favor of designation. Only one commentor expressed the feeling that designation would not meet the community objective of abundant, safe drinking water. He also felt that additional reviews would only lead to duplication of review efforts, negative impact on agency and department budgets and little direct impact on the privately funded work that makes up the majority of capital projects in the community.

    Four of the written comments expressed the need to extend the area of consideration through Tioga County to the Pennsylvania border.

    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 Broome and Tioga Counties.

    VII. Economic and Regulatory Impact

    Pursuant to the provisions of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), 5 U.S.C. 605(b), 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 Broome and Tioga 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 (NEPA), 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 or prices, 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 Clinton Street-Ballpark Valley Aquifer System of the Broome and Tioga County areas. It provides an additional review of ground water protection measures whenever possible, for only those projects which request Federal financial assistance.

    Dated: January 4, 1985.
    William D. Ruckelshaus, Administrator

    [FR Doc. 85989 Filed 1/11/85; 8:45 am]
    BILLING CODE 656050M

     

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