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Chapter 2 Petitioners Guidance


2.1 Overview of the Process

The Sole Source Aquifer petition review process consists of four phases, as shown in Exhibit 2-1. The petitioner's responsibility in each of these four phases is described in general in the following sections. A more detailed description of the activities suggested for each phase is included in chapters 3 through 6 of this guidance package.

2.1.1 Phase I - Petition Preparation

The petitioner should use this guidance to prepare a petition for submission and should contact the appropriate EPA Regional Office to obtain information about the Sole Source Aquifer program and the designation decision process. If the petitioner has not already received a Fact Sheet, a copy is included in this guidance as Appendix B. The petitioner is responsible for providing a complete petition and the information EPA needs for making its determination. This phase ends when the petitioner submits the petition to EPA.

2.1.2. Phase II - Initial Petition Review / Completeness Determination

During Phase II, EPA conducts a completeness review to determine if the petition contains plausible, up-to-date information. If EPA determines that the petition is complete, the petitioner will be notified, and the petition proceeds to the more rigorous technical verification phase. If it is incomplete, EPA will return the petition to the petitioner with a Notice of Deficiencies. The petitioner should supply additional information, as indicated in the Notice, before processing can continue.

2.1.3. Phase III - Detailed Review / Technical Verification

The two major objectives of this phase are:

- To verify that the aquifer is the sole or principal source of drinking water for the people who live in the area served by the aquifer (aquifer service area), and

- To verify or modify, as appropriate, the boundaries of the designated area and the project review area.

During the course of reviewing the petition, EPA may determine that the water use date and/or hydrogeological or other data are insufficient to determine whether the aquifer is the sole or principal source and/or whether the boundaries of the various areas are correct. If this is the case, EPA will ask the petitioner to supply additional data. This phase ends when EPA staff send a recommendation for petition approval or denial to the Regional Administrator.

2.1.4. Phase IV - Designation Determination

The Regional Administrator should either approve or deny the Sole Source Aquifer petition. The criterion for designating an aquifer as a Sole Source Aquifer is whether it is needed to supply 50% or more of the drinking water for the aquifer service area. EPA may also modify the boundaries of the designated area and/or project review area, as appropriate.

EPA should inform the petitioner directly of the designation, and the designation determination should be published in the Federal Register.


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


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