Ridgewood Area Aquifer System ( Brunswick
Shale and Sandstone)
Ridgewood Area Aquifer System ( Brunswick Shale and Sandstone )
Federal Register Notice
Volume 49, No. 16, Page 2943
- I. Background
- II. Basis for the Determination
- III. Description of the Brunswick Shale and Sandstone Aquifer of the Ridgewood Area, Its Recharge Zone and Its Streamflow Source Zone
- IV. Information Utilized in Determination
- V. Project Review
- VI. Summary and Discussion of Public Comments
- VII. Economic and Regulatory Impact
Environmental Protection Agency
Pursuant to Section 1424(e) of the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has determined that the Brunswick Shale and Sandstone Aquifer, underlying the Ridgewood Area, is the sole or principal source of drinking water for Ridged, Midland Park, Glen Rock, and Wyckoff, New Jersey, 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 Ridgewood Area and its streamflow source zone (upstream portions of the Ho Ho Kus Brook and Saddle River Run drainage basins) will be subject to EPA review to ensure that these projects are designed and constructed such that they do not create a significant hazard to public health.
ADDRESSES: The data 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, Water Supply Branch, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 26 Federal Plaza, New York, New York 10278 (212) 264-1800.
Notice is hereby given that pursuant to Section 1424(e) of the Safe Drinking Water Act (42 U.S.C., 300f, 300h-3(e), Pub. L. 93-523), the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has determined that the Brunswick Shale and Sandstone aquifer of the Ridgewood Area is the sole or principal source of drinking water for Ridged, Midland Park, Glen Rock, and Wyckoff, New Jersey. Pursuant to Section 1424(e), Federal financially assisted projects constructed in the Ridgewood Area and its streamflow source zone (upstream portions of Ho Ho Kus Brook, and Saddle River drainage basins) will be subject to EPA review.
Section 1424(e) of the Safe Drinking Water State:
(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 thedetermination 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 July 4, 1979, the Committee to Keep Our Water Pure petitioned EPA to designate the Brunswick Shale and Sandstone Aquifer of the Ridgewood Area as a sole source aquifer. On January 15, 1980, 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 February 28, 1980 and the public was allowed to submit comments on the petition until March 28, 1980.
Among the factors to be considered by the Administrator in connection with the designation of an area 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 Brunswick Shale and Sandstone Aquifer of the Ridgewood Area is the "sole source" of drinking water for approximately 68,520 residents of Ridged, Midland Park, Glen Rock, and Wyckoff, New Jersey.
2. There is no existing alternative drinking water source or combination of sources which provides fifty percent or more of the drinking water to the designated area.
3. The Brunswick formation is a soft red shale interbedded with coarse grained sandstone. The aquifer is overlain by permeable unconsolidated glacial and recent deposits. As a result of permeable soil characteristics, the Brunswick Shale and Sandstone Aquifer of the Ridgewood 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, stormwater 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 water purposes by the population of the Ridgewood Area, contamination of the aquifer could pose a significant public health hazard.
III. Description of the Brunswick Shale and Sandstone Aquifer of the Ridgewood Area, its Recharge Zone and its Streamflow Source Zone
The Brunswick Shale and Sandstone Aquifer is a soft red shale inter-bedded with coarse grained sandstone. The formation, located in northern New Jersey, is fairly large, extending south into Pennsylvania and north into New York. Igneous intrusions which form the Watchung Mountains and the Palisades, also form the western boundaries of the Brunswick formation, respectfully. The area in which Federal financially assisted projects will be subject to review is the portion of the Brunswick Shale and Sandstone Aquifer in the Ridgewood Area, its streamflow source zone, and its recharge zone.
For purposes of this designation, the Brunswick Shale and Sandstone Aquifer of the Ridgewood Area is considered to include the entire municipalities of Ridgewood, Midland Park, Glen Rock, and Wyckoff, New Jersey. It's recharge zone is considered to be one and the same with this area. The streamflow source zone is that portion of the drainage basins of Ho Ho Kus Brook and Saddle River Run located upstream of the Ridged area. This includes all or a portion of the following New Jersey municipalities: Waldwick, Allendale, Ramsey, Mahwah, Franklin Lakes, Ho Ho Kus, Saddle River, Upper Saddle River, Woodcliff lake, Hillside, Washington, Montvale, as well as Ramapo Township, New York.
The information utilized in this determination includes the petition, written and verbal comments submitted by the public, and various technical publications. The above data is available to the public and may be inspected during normal business hours at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region II, Water Supply Branch, 26 Federal Plaza, New York, New York 10278.
EPA Region II is working with the Federal agencies which 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 Brunswick Shale and Sandstone Aquifer, upon which the Ridgewood Area is dependent for its 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 as to create a significant hazard to 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 Brunswick Shale and Sandstone Aquifer on which the Ridgewood Area is dependent for its sole source water supply. Included in the review of any Federal financially assisted project will be the coordination with the State and local agencies. Their comments will be given full consideration and the Federalreview process will attempt to complement and support State and local ground water protection mechanisms.
Most of the comments generally in favor of the designation. Two local governments submitted resolutions in support of designation. Only two commenters expressed any reservations regarding the designation.
One commenter expressed concern that the proposed designation would provide protection which is duplicative of State and local controls and may lead to unnecessary bureaucratic delays of projects. Although a number of ground water protection measures are available at the Federal, State and local level, none of these, either, individually or collectively, permit EPA to act as directly as would a sole source designation in the review and approval of Federal financially assisted projects. In addition, EPA feels that the sole source project review process will foster integration rather than duplication of environmental review efforts. Memoranda of Understanding have been negotiated with various Federal agencies, with the purpose of streamlining the review process and minimizing project delays.
One commenter expressed concern that the area proposed for sole source designation could be an arbitrary political subdivision of the larger Brunswick aquifer system. The commenter questioned whether sufficient consideration had been given to the physical limits of the hydrologic system. The EPA recognizes that the aquifer does indeed cover a large area. However, a significant portion of the population in these other areas utilize other sources of water supply or have alternative sources available.
Concern was raised that the Ridgewood Area may have alternative water supply available through adjacent water purveyors; specifically, the Passaic Water Commission or the Hackensack Water Company. EPA has reviewed this matter and determined that either insufficient supply is currently available (in one case) or interconnections between the Ridgewood Area and the purveyor are currently not adequate to handle the Area's demand. Furthermore, the Brunswick Shale and Sandstone Aquifer in the Ridgewood Area is a source of water for export to adjacent purveyors during drought conditions.
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 Ridgewood Area residents.
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 Ridgewood Area.
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, as amended (NEPA), 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 Brunswick Shale and Sandstone Aquifer of the Ridgewood Area. It provides an additional review of ground water protection measures, incorporating, State and local measures whenever possible, for only those projects which request Federal financial assistance.
Dated: January 12, 1983.
William D. Ruckelshaus, Administrator.
[FR Doc. 841887 Filed 1/23/84; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 656050M