DESIGNATION OF SOLE SOURCE AQUIFERS FACT SHEET
What is a Sole Source Aquifer?
A Sole Source Aquifer (SSA) is an aquifer designated by EPA as the "sole or principal source" of drinking water for a given aquifer service area; that is, an aquifer which is needed to supply 50% or more of the drinking water for that area and for which there are no reasonably available alternative sources should the aquifer become contaminated.
What are the benefits of having EPA designate an aquifer as a Sole Source Aquifer?
Proposed Federal financially assisted projects which have the potential to contaminate the SSA area will be subject to EPA review. This review could either prevent a commitment of Federal funding or cause a redesign of the project. Designation has no effect on proposed projects which do not receive Federal financial assistance such as projects funded by State, local or private concerns.
SSA designation is a prerequisite for a State or municipality to qualify for consideration for funding under a separate EPA program, the SSA Demonstration Program.
Who may apply for Sole Source Aquifer designation?
Any person may apply SSA designation. A "person" is any individual, corporation, company, association, partnership, State, municipality or Federal agency.
Where should petitions be sent?
A petition should be submitted to the Regional Administrator of the appropriate regional office.
What should be included in the Sole Source Aquifer petition?
The petition should include sufficient technical information to allow EPA to determine whether the aquifer is the sole or principal source of drinking water and to substantiate the boundaries of the aquifer and its recharge area.
Who is responsible for providing the necessary hydrogeological and other technical information needed for designation?
The petitioner is responsible for providing the necessary hydrogeological and other information needed for designation.
What are the steps involved in the processing a Sole Source Aquifer designation petition?
There are four phases in making a designation decision:
1. Petition Preparation (Petitioner)
2. Initial Review / Completeness Determination (EPA)
3. Detailed review / Technical Verification (EPA)
4. Designation Determination (EPA)
How long does the decision process take?
As a general rule, the designation decision process takes a minimum of six months from the time the petitioner submits a complete petition to the time EPA makes a determination. The process may take longer, depending on the complexity of the petition.
What is the deadline for submission of the Sole Source Aquifer petition?
In general, there is no deadline. For those petitioners interested in the separate SSA Demonstration Program, however, the SSA petition should be submitted by December 1, 1987. EPA is suggesting this date because there is a statutory SSA designation deadline of June 1988 in order to qualify for SSA Demonstration Program consideration, and EPA estimates the minimum SSA petition review time to be six months. It is unlikely that EPA could make SSA determinations before the June deadline for petitions submitted after December 1, 1987.
Where may additional information be obtained?
More detailed information about the SSA petition requirements and the designation process is included in the "Sole Source Aquifer Designation Petitioner Guidance" available from the appropriate Regional Office.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Chapter 1. Introduction
Chapter 2. Overview of Petition Processing
Chapter 3. Phase I - Petition Preparation
Chapter 4. Phase II - Initial Petition Review / Determination of Completeness
Chapter 5. Phase III - Detailed Review / Technical Verification
Chapter 6. Phase IV - Designation Determination
A. Sole Source Aquifer Definitions
B. Sole Source Fact Sheet
C. Sources of Technical Information
D. EPA Regional Contacts
E. Completeness Determination Checklist
F. Statements of Meaning--Minimum Set of Data Elements for Wells
G. Section 1424(e) Safe Drinking Water Act