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Drinking Water in New England

Monhegan Island FR

Updated Contact Information
Ted Lavery • (617) 918-1683

(Cite as: 53 FR 24496)

NOTICES

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

[FRL-3406-3]

Sole Source Aquifer Designation for the Monhegan Island Aquifer System, Maine

Wednesday, June 29, 1988

*24496 AGENCY: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

ACTION: Notice.

SUMMARY: In response to a petition from the State of Maine, notice is hereby given that the Regional Administrator, Region I, of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has determined that the Monhegan Island Aquifer System satisfies all determination criteria for designation as a sole source aquifer, pursuant to section 1424(e) of the Safe Drinking Water Act. The following findings were made in accordance with the designation criteria: Monhegan Island Aquifer System is the sole source of drinking water for the residents of Monhegan Island; there are no viable alternative sources of sufficient supply; the boundaries of the designated area and project review area have been reviewed and approval by EPA; and, if contamination were to occur, it would pose a significant public health hazard and a serious financial burden to the State of Maine. As a result of this action, all federal financially assisted projects proposed for construction or modification to take place on Monhegan Island will be subject to EPA review to minimize the risk of ground water contamination from these projects.

*24497 DATE: This determination shall be promulgated for purposes of judicial review at 1:00 p.m. Eastern time July 13, 1988.

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 I, JFK Federal Building, Water Management Division, WGP 2113, Boston, MA 02203. The designation petition submitted may also be inspected at the Maine State Planning Office in Augusta, Maine.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Robert E. Mendoza, Chief of the Ground Water Management Section, EPA Region I, JFK Federal Building, WGP-2113, Boston, MA 02203, 617-565-3600.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

Section 1424(e) of the Safe Drinking Water Act (42 U.S.C. 300f, 300h-3(e), Pub. L. 93-523) 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, if contaminated, would create a significant hazard to public health, he shall publish notice of that 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 May 16, 1988, EPA received a petition from the State of Maine requesting the designation of the Monhegan Island Aquifer System as a sole source aquifer. EPA determined that the petition fully satisfied the Completeness Determination Checklist. A public meeting was then scheduled and held on June 2, 1988, on Monhegan Island, Maine, in accordance with all applicable notification and procedural requirements. A two week comment period followed the meeting.

II. Basis for Determination

Among the factors considered by the Regional Administrator as part of the detailed reviewand technical verification process for designating an area under section 1424(e) were: (1) Whether the aquifer is the sole or principal source (more than 50%) of drinking water for the defind aquifer service area, and that the volume of water from an alternative source is insufficient to replace the petitioned aquifer; (2) whether contamination of the aquifer would a significant hazard to public health; and (3) whether the boundaries of the aquifer, its recharge area and streamflow source area, the project designation area, and the project review area are appropriate. 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 Monhegan Island Aquifer System as a sole source aquifer:

  1. The Monhegan Island Aquifer System is the sole source of drinking water to all of the residents within the service area.
  2. There exists no reasonable alternative drinking water source or combination of sources of sufficient quantity to supply the designated service area.
  3. EPA has found that the State of Maine has appropriately delineated the boundaries of the aquifer recharge area, project designation area and project review area.
  4. Although the quality of the Island's ground water is considered adequate, it is vulnerable to contamination due to the Island's geological characteristics and landuse activities. Because of this, contaminants can be rapidly introduced into the aquifer system from many sources with minimal assimilation.

Since all residents are totally dependent upon the aquifer for their drinking water, a serious contamination incident could pose a significant public health hazard.

III. Description of the Monhegan Island Aquifer System, Designated Area and Project Review Area

The Monhegan Island Aquifer System is a 0.8 square mile ocean island located in the mid-coastal region of Maine, approximately 50 miles east of Portland and 10 miles from Port Clyde, the nearest mainland town. The aquifer system is comprised of a single interconnected bedrock aquifer. The aquifer material consists of mafic intrusive rocks (gabbro and diorite). The Island has relief of 165 feet, with a fairly gentle slope along the western shore. There is a very small pond in the east-central portion of the Island, but no streams or other surface waters exist.

The designated area is defined as the surface area above the aquifer system and its recharge area. For the Monhegan Island Aquifer System the boundary of the designated area coincides with the boundary of the watershed basin. The watershed boundary is the surface water divide based on topography, which corresponds to the ground water divide. The designated area, project review area and service area are conterminous, encompassing all of Monhegan Island.

IV. Information Utilized in Determination

The information utilized in this determination includes: the petition submitted to EPA Region I by the State of Maine; verbal comments made by the public. This information is available to the public and may be inspected at the address listed above.

V. Project Review

EPA Region I is working with the federal agencies most likely to provide financial assistance to projects in the project review area. Interagency procedures and Memoranda of Understanding have been developed through which EPA will be notified of proposed commitments by federal agencies to projects which could contaminate the Monhegan Island Aquifer System. EPA will evaluate such projects and, where necessary, conduct an in-depth review, including soliciting public comments when appropriate. Should the Regional Administrator determine that a project may contaminate the aquifer through its recharge zone so 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 ensure that it will not contaminate the aquifer. Included in the review of any federal fianancially assisted project will be the coordination with state and local agencies and the project's developers. Their comments will be given full consideration and EPA's review will attempt to compliment and support state and local ground water protection measures. Although the project review process cannot be delegated, EPA will rely to the maximum extent possible on any existing or future state and/or local control measures to protect the quality of ground water in the Monhegan Island Aquifer System.

VI. Summary and Discussion of Public Comments

Initially, the rationale for designation did not seem apparent to Monhegan Island residents who attended the public meeting, because funding is not currently available for demonstration projects and the improbability that any *24498 large federally assisted projects will be proposed for the Island.

State and federal personnel explained, that through designation, the Island can be recognized as a unique area that is solely dependent upon one source of water. Such designation can lead to: additional technical assistance provided by both state and federal agencies relating to general ground water protection measures and public water supply issues; development of coordination mechanisms between appropriate state agencies that regulate the Island's land and water use activities and recognition of the uniqueness of the water supply and issues that affect an ocean island. After this clarification, public comments clarification, public comments supported designation of the Monhegan Island Aquifer System as a sole source aquifer.

Date: June 17, 1988.

Michael R. Deland,

Regional Administrator.

[FR Doc. 88-14594; Filed 6-28-88; 8:45 a.m.]

BILLING CODE 6560-50-M

53 FR 24496-02, 1988 WL 277743 (F.R.)

END OF DOCUMENT

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