For questions about the
proposed designation of Michindoh
Aquifer as a sole source of drinking
EPA Region 5 (WG-15J)
77 W. Jackson Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60604
EPA Considering Application for Sole-source Aquifer Status
EPA is evaluating an application from the city of Bryan, Ohio, to designate the Michindoh Aquifer as a "sole-source" aquifer. That designation means the aquifer is the only source of drinking water for people in a nine-county area that includes parts of three states. The following documents provide information on this consideration.
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- Fact Sheet: Comments Prompt Further Geological Study of Aquifer (PDF), June 2010 (1 pp, 103 K)
- Michindoh Aquifer – Frequently Asked Questions
- Fact Sheet: Comment Period Extended on Sole-source Aquifer Petition (PDF), January 2010 (4 pp, 238 K)
- EPA Response Letter regarding requests for comment period extension (PDF), January 29, 2010 (3 pp, 28 K)
- E-Transcript file of the EPA Hearing held on January 13, 2010 (PDF) (72 pp, 207 K)
- PowerPoint Presentation on Michindoh Sole Source Aquifer delivered at EPA Hearing (PDF) (17pp, 413K) January 13, 2010
- Fact Sheet: EPA Considering Application for Sole-source Aquifer Status (PDF), November 2009 (1 pp, 86 K)
- Sole Source Aquifer Petition Document (PDF) (69 pp, 344 K)
- EPA Correspondence regarding petition (PDF), January 2009 (26 pp, 1.42 Mb)
Figure 16 (Revised) Proposed Sole Source Aquifer Area - July 2009 (PDF) (1pg, 221K) July 2009
Area Map showing aquifer boundaries and the location of public water systems in the area
Michindoh GIS Map (ZIP, 5 K) January 2010
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Michindoh Aquifer Sole Source Aquifer Petition Update (March 2013)
Based on comments received in April 2010, a scoping study was conducted to assess available geologic information which would support a designation determination. Based on the study findings, EPA requested further information from the City of Bryan, Ohio, the author of this sole source aquifer designation petition. Until this information is received, EPA has determined that sole source aquifer designation for this petition is indefintely suspended.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a sole source aquifer?
EPA defines a sole source aquifer as one that supplies at least 50 percent of the drinking water consumed in the area over the aquifer. The “sole source” designation is not awarded if there are alternative water sources in the area that could physically, legally and economically supply all those who depend upon the aquifer for drinking water.
What legislation authorizes the city of Bryan to request designation of the Michindoh Glacial Aquifer as a Sole Source Aquifer?
Section 1424(e) of the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974. Here’s what it says, in part:
“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 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.”
What kind of projects in the SSA would be subject to EPA review?
Proposed projects with federal financial assistance that have the potential to contaminate the designated sole source aquifer are subject to EPA review, while projects funded entirely by state, local or private concerns are not. Federally funded projects reviewed by EPA under the SSA protection program, could include:
- Highway improvements and new road construction.
- Public water supply wells and transmission lines.
- Wastewater treatment facilities.
- Construction projects that involve disposal of storm water.
- Agricultural projects that involve management of animal waste.
- Projects funded through Community Development Block Grants.
Most projects referred to EPA for review are approved without any additional conditions because they meet all federal, state and local ground water protection standards. However, the review may lead to specific recommendations or additional pollution prevention requirements. Federal funding has been denied when the applicant has been either unwilling or unable to modify the project. Whenever feasible, EPA coordinates these reviews with other federal, state or local agencies that have a responsibility for ground water quality protection. This helps EPA understand local hydrogeologic conditions and specific project design concerns, and ensures that the SSA protection measures enhance and support existing ground water protection efforts.
How can the sole source aquifer designation benefit the environment?
By ensuring that federal funds are not used for projects and activities that could create a significant hazard to public health.
Will this affect potential industrial growth in the area, including agriculture?
Only when federal funding assistance is applied for and the project for which funding is requested has the potential to create a significant hazard to public health.
How can SSA provide additional protection state agencies don’t already require?
The Safe Drinking Water Act allows EPA to provide additional review of projects that are federally funded and have the potential to contaminate a SSA. Such projects may or may not be subject to review by state agencies.
Will this designation delay projects?
Delays will be minimal unless the EPA review finds the proposed project or activity could create a significant public health hazard. EPA expects to be able to review and comment on any project within 30 days.
What are the possible effects on new private and public water well supply systems?
There are little or no possible effects. Federally funded new wells and water supply systems must be designed and constructed so that public health is not threatened. This means well and treatment structures are constructed in low-risk settings using design and materials that enable the system to maintain compliance with EPA drinking water standards. Treatment and conveyance systems need to be installed using environmentally safe construction and materials handling practices.
What is the process to designate a sole source aquifer?
According to Section 1424(e) of the Safe Drinking Water Act, any individual, corporation, company, association, partnership, state, municipality or federal agency is qualified to submit a formal request, or “petition,” for SSA designation. Petitions must contain sufficient technical information to evaluate whether the aquifer meets EPA’s criteria. EPA reviews the petition and – if it meets the appropriate criteria – seeks public comments. EPA reviews all comments it receives and approves or denies the petition. The decision is published in the Federal Register and announced on the EPA Web site.
What process did EPA follow?
EPA received the Michindoh Aquifer SSA petition in October 2007. The petition passed a completeness review in February 2008. After EPA completed a more detailed content review and discussed the details with the city of Bryan, the city submitted a revised petition. EPA asked for public comments on its preliminary decision to approve the petition Oct. 5, 2009. Based on comments received, EPA extended the comment period and scheduled two public meetings and a formal public hearing. The extended comment period ends Jan. 29, 2010. EPA will review all comments received and produce a response summary, which will be available on EPA’s Web site. EPA’s final decision be published in the Federal Register and announced on the EPA Web site.