Jump to main content.


Ramapo Aquifer Systems Ramapo Aquifer Systems

Federal Register Notice

Volume 57, No. 168, Page 39201
Friday, August 28, 1992
Sole Source Aquifer Determination for the
  Ramapo Aquifer Systems in New Jersey & New York 

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

    Environmental Protection Agency

    ACTION

    Notice.

    SUMMARY

    In response to a petition from the Township of Mahwah and the Passaic River Coalition in New Jersey, notice is hereby given that the Region II Regional Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has determined that the Ramapo River Basin Aquifer Systems within the Ramapo River Basin satisfy all determination criteria as a Sole Source Aquifer pursuant to section 1424(e) of the Safe Drinking Water Act. Satisfying the designation criteria resulted in the following findings: The Ramapo River Basin Aquifer Systems are the sole source of drinking water for the Aquifer Service Area; there are no viable alternative drinking water sources of sufficient supply; and if contamination were to occur, it would pose a significant hazard to the public health. As a result of this action, all Federal financially assisted projects for the area will be subject to EPA review to ensure that these projects are designed and constructed such that they do not bring about, or in any way contribute to, conditions creating a significant hazard to public health.

    DATES

    This determination shall be promulgated for purposes of judicial review at 1 p.m. Eastern time on September 14, 1992.

    ADDRESSES: The data upon 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, Region II, Ground Water Management Protection Section, Drinking/ Ground Water Protection Branch, room 842, 26 Federal Plaza, New York, New York 10278.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Walter Andrews, Chief, Drinking/Ground Water Protection Branch, Region II, 26 Federal Plaza, room 845, New York, NY 10278, (212) 2641800.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION

    I. Background

    Section 1424(e) of the Safe Drinking Water Act (42 U.S.C. 300h3(e), Pub. L. 93523 of December 16, 1974) states:

    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, ifcontaminated, 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 September 8, 1990, EPA received a petition from the Township of Mahwah and the Passaic River Coalition in New Jersey requesting the designation of the Ramapo River Basin as a Sole Source Aquifer. EPA determined that the petition, after receipt and review of additional information requested on November 26, 1990 and on September 9, 1991 was complete. A public hearing was held on March 10, 1992 at the Council Chambers of the Municipal Offices in Mahwah in Mahwah, New Jersey, in accordance with all applicable notification and procedural requirements. All comments received at the hearings, and the majority of the written comments received during the comment period were in favor of the designation.

    II. Basis for Determination

    Among the factors considered by the Regional Administrator as part of the technical review process for designating an area under Section 1424(e) were: (1) That the aquifer is the sole or principal source (more than 50%) of drinking water for the defined Aquifer Service Area, and that the volume of water available from all alternative sources is insufficient to replace the petitioned aquifer; and (2) that contamination of the aquifer would create a significant hazard to public health. On the basis of technical information available to EPA at this time, the Regional Administrator has made the following findings in favor of designating the Ramapo River Basin Aquifer Systems as a Sole Source Aquifer:

    1. The Ramapo River Basin Aquifer Systems are the sole source of drinking water to approximately 180,000 residents of the Aquifer Service Area.

    2. There are no reasonable alternative sources capable of supplying a sufficient quantity of drinking water to the popu-lation served by the petitioned Ramapo River Basin Aquifer Systems.

    3. Although all public water supply wells meet or exceed the appropriate Federal and State drinking water standards, there have been several documented incidents of ground water contamination within the Ramapo River Basin.

    III. Description of the Ramapo River Basin Aquifer Systems, Sole Source Aquifer Designated Area, Aquifer Service Area, and Project Review Area

    The Ramapo River Basin is an area of 161 square miles within the Passaic River drainage system. Thirty percent of the Basin is in New Jersey and includes parts of Passaic and Bergen Counties. Seventy percent of the Basin is in New York and includes parts of Orange and Rockland Counties.

    The Ramapo River Basin Aquifer Systems within the Ramapo River Basin include the highly productive valleyfill aquifer in the Ramapo and Mahwah River valleys and the Newark Group bedrock aquifer. The Newark Group underlies the eastern portion of Ramapo River Basin, east of the Ramapo River Basin Great Border Fault. The trend of the Great Border Fault follows Ramapo River valley in New Jersey and the Mahwah River valley in New York.

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency designated Sole Source Aquifer includes the Ramapo River Basin Aquifer Systems. In New York, the Sole Source Aquifer includes the New York Department of Conservation designated Ramapo Mahwah Primary Aquifer as illustrated in the U.S. Geological Survey Water Resources Investigations Report 874274 Potential Yields in Unconsolidated Aquifers in Upstate New YorkLower Hudson Sheet, Scale 1:250,000. The aquifer is delineated in detail on the U.S. Geological Survey Open File Report 82114, Geohydorlogy of the ValleyFill Aquifer in the Ramapo and Mahwah Rivers Area, Rockland County, New York, Scale 1:24,000. In New Jersey the designated Sole Source Aquifer includes the valleyfill aquifer in the Mahwah and Ramapo River valleys. The Ramapo River valleyfill aquifer is described and profiled in the New Jersey Geological Survey Map Series 886, Bedrock Topography and Profiles of ValleyFill Deposits in the Ramapo River Valley, New Jersey, Scale 1:24,000. The designated Sole Source Aquifer area extends from the Great Border Fault, east to the Ramapo River Basin boundary to encompass the Newark Group bedrock aquifer.

    The Aquifer Service Area includes the Townships of Mahwah and Wayne and the Boroughs of Ramsey, Oakland, Franklin Lakes, Allendale and Pomptom Lakes in New Jersey. In New York, the Aquifer Service Area includes the Towns of Ramapo, Haverstraw, Orangetown and Clarkstown and the Villages of Hillburn, Suffern and Spring Valley and the Township of Stony Point.

    Because the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency determined that contaminants introduced in any of these areas have the potential to adversely affect the Ramapo River Basin Aquifer Systems, the designated Sole Source Aquifer includes the aquifer recharge areas and streamflow source areas encompassed by the Ramapo River Basin boundaries. The Project Review Area is defined as coincident with the boundaries of the Ramapo River Basin.

    A map delineating the designated areas is available and may be obtained by contacting the person listed previously.

    IV. Information Utilized in Determination

    The information utilized in this determination included the petition submitted by the Township of Mahwah and the Passaic River Coalition, various U.S. Geological Survey and New Jersey Geological Survey reports, information contained in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency files, and written and verbal comments from the public. In addition, consultation was held with other U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Branches to achieve a regional consensus on the decision. These materials are available to the public and may be inspected during normal business hours at the address listed previously.

    V. Project Review

    As per this determination the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will review proposed projects with Federal financial assistance in order to ensure that such projects do not have the potential to contaminate the Ramapo River Basin Aquifer Systems through its recharge zone and streamflow source areas as to create a significant hazard to public health. In many cases, those projects may also be analyzed in an Environmental Impact Statement under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), 42 U.S.C. section 4332(2)(c). All Environmental Impact Statements, as well as any other proposed Federal actions affecting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency program, are required by Federal law (under the "NEPA/309" process) to be reviewed and commented upon by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator.

    In order to streamline the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency review of the possible environmental impacts on designated Sole Source Aquifers, when an action is to be analyzed in an Environmental Impact Statement, the two reviews will be consolidated and both authorities cited. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency review under section 1424(e) will be therefore included in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency review of the Environmental Impact Statement under NEPA.

    VI. Summary and Discussion of Public Comment

    The public comments received expressed strong support for the designation of the Ramapo River Aquifer Basin as a Sole Source Aquifer. Seventeen persons, representing local governments, environmental and civic organizations, and purveyors presented statements of support at the public hearings. Fifteen written statements in favor of designation were received representing local governments, congress and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and Energy.

    The New York Department of Environmental Conservation and the Villages of Hillburn and Harriman in New York only supported the designation of the existing NYSDEC designated Ramapo-Mahwah Primary Aquifer and did not support the inclusion of aquifer recharge areas and streamflow source areas in New York.

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's response to the above concern is that, wherever possible, the boundaries of Sole Source Aquifers are based on hydrogeologic criteria. The designated Sole Source Aquifer includes the highly productive valleyfill aquifer in the Ramapo and Mahwah River valleys. It has been documented that the Ramapo River is a major source of recharge for the valleyfill aquifer. Hence any incident of surface water contamination may potentially impact wells tapping the aquifer. On that basis, the Ramapo River Basin, which encompasses the recharge areas and streamflow source areas for the Ramapo River Basin Aquifer Systems is designated as a Sole Source Aquifer.

    VII. Summary

    Today's action affects the Ramapo River Basin located in Passaic and Bergen Counties in New Jersey and Orange and Rockland Counties in New York. Projects with Federal financial assistance proposed for portions of Passaic, Bergen, Orange and Rockland Counties within the Ramapo River Basin will be reviewed to ensure that their activities will not endanger public health through contamination of the aquifer.

    Dated: August 11, 1992.

    Constantine SidamonEristoff, Regional Administrator,
    Environmental Protection Agency Region II.

    [FR Doc. 9220729 Filed 82792; 8:45 am]
    BILLING CODE 656050M

     

    LocalNavigation


    Jump to main content.