1.1 Purpose and Use of this Guidance
The purpose of this guidance is to aid potential Sole Source Aquifer (SSA) petitioners to prepare and submit SSA designation petitions to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Regional Offices in a complete and timely fashion. Petitioner questions not addressed in this guidance should be directed to the appropriate EPA Regional Office.
This guidance is divided into six chapters. Following this introductory chapter, Chapter 2 presents an overview of the designation decision process, from the initial petitioner inquiries to the Regional Administrator's (RA) designation determination. Chapter 3 details the petition contents and gives instructions on where to submit the information. Chapter 4, Chapter 5, and Chapter 6 provide information on EPA's procedures from initial petition review to the designation determination.
The appendices, referenced in the guidance, provide additional background information for the petitioner. The terms and definitions used in this guidance are found in Appendix A. The SSA Fact Sheet, containing general information about the program, is found in Appendix B. Sources of technical information to be used in completing the petition are listed in Appendix C. Appendix D lists the EPA Regional Office contacts for the SSA program and the State included in each EPA Region. The Completeness Determination Checklist, which EPA intends to use to determine if a petition is complete, is included as Appendix E.
To assist the Agency in making a determination whether a petitioned aquifer if contaminated, would create a significant public health hazard, a petitioner is encouraged to provide the "Minimum Set of Data Elements" for wells and springs as described in Appendix F.
1.2 The Sole Source Aquifer Program
The Sole Source Aquifer program was established under Section 1424(e) of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) of 1974. This section authorizes the EPA Administrator to determine that an aquifer is the "sole or principal" source of drinking water for an area. The program also provides for EPA review of Federal financially assisted projects planned for the area to determine their potential for contaminating the aquifer. Based on this review, no commitment of Federal financial assistance may be made for projects "which the Administrator determines may contaminate such aquifer," although Federal funds may be used to modify projects to ensure that they will not contaminate the aquifer. As of October 1986, there were twenty-one designated Sole Source Aquifers nationwide.
The Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments, enacted June 1986, established the Sole Source Aquifer Demonstration Program, which is separate from, but dependent upon, the Sole Source Aquifer program. The Sole Source Aquifer Demonstration Program establishes procedures for developing, implementing and assessing demonstrations designed to protect critical aquifer protection areas (CAPAs). A CAPA is an area that:
- Must be located with an area designated as a Sole Source Aquifer by June 19, 1986 and has a Clean Water Act, Section 208, ground water quality protection plan approved prior to that same date; or
- Must be located within an area that is designated as a Sole Source Aquifer no later than June 19, 1988, and which satisfies the CAPA criteria EPA must establish by June 19, 1987.
The text of Section 1424(e) of the Safe Drinking Water Act creating the Sole Source Aquifer Program is reproduced in Appendix G.
1.3 Qualified Petitioners
Any individual, corporation, company, association, partnership, State, municipality or Federal agency is qualified to petition for SSA designation.
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