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Drinking Water in New England

Vinalhaven Island FR

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

(Cite as: 54 FR 29779)

NOTICES

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

[FRL-615-8]

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

Friday, July 14, 1989

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 Vinalhaven 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: Vinalhaven Island Aquifer System is the principal source of drinking water for the residents of Vinalhaven Island; there are no viable alternative sources of sufficient supply; the boundaries of the designated area and project review area have been reviewed and approved 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 Vinalhaven Island will be subject to EPA review to minimize the risk of ground water contamination from these projects.

DATES: This determination shall be promulgated for purposes of judicial review at 1:00 p.m. Eastern time two weeks after the date of publication in the Federal Register.

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 June 3, 1988, EPA received a petition from the State of Maine requesting the designation of the Vinalhaven 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 March 6, 1989 on Vinalhaven Island, Maine, in accordance with all applicable notification and procedural requirements. A one month comment period followed the meeting.

II. Basis for Determination

Among the factors considered by the Regional Administrator as part of the detailed review and technical verification process for designating an area under section 1424(e) were:

  1. *29780 The Vinalhaven Aquifer System is a interconnected bedrock aquifer which the population draws for their fresh water needs. It serves as the principal source of drinking water to all 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 possible land use activities. Because of this, contaminants can be rapidly introduced into the aquifer system from many sources with minimal assimilation. Since the aquifer serves as the principal source of drinking water for the residents, a serious contamination incident could pose a significant public health hazard.

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

The Vinalhaven Island is a 20 square miles ocean island located in the mid- coastal region of Maine, approximately 10 miles east of Rockport, the nearest mainland town. The aquifer system is comprised of a interconnected bedrock aquifer. The island's bedrock consists predominately of granite, gabbro, diorite and pelite of Devonian age. The Island has relief of 216 feet, with a irregular topographic profile.

The designated area is defined as the surface area above the aquifer system and its recharge area. For the Vinalhaven 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 the 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 and letters of support received. 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 Vinalhaven 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 financially 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 reviw will attempt to complement 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 Vinalhaven Island Aquifer System.

VI. Summary and Discussion of Public Comments

During the public meeting, a request for an extension of the public comment period was made. It was extended an additional two weeks and expired on April 6, 1989. One comment raised the concern that the State of Maine, serving as the petitioner should have contacted the Island's municipal officials earlier in the process. This concern was conveyed to the appropriate state agency. Letters in support of designation were submitted to EPA.

Paul Keough,

Regional Administrator.

Date: May 31, 1989.

[FR Doc. 89-16544 Filed 7-13-89; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 6560-50-M

54 FR 29779-02, 1989 WL 279729 (F.R.)

END OF DOCUMENT

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