United States Code

USC most recently checked for updates: Oct 31, 2020

§ 300h–6.
Sole source aquifer demonstration program

The purpose of this section is to establish procedures for development, implementation, and assessment of demonstration programs designed to protect critical aquifer protection areas located within areas designated as sole or principal source aquifers under section 300h–3(e) of this title.

“Critical aquifer protection area” defined
For purposes of this section, the term “critical aquifer protection area” means either of the following:
All or part of an area located within an area for which an application or designation as a sole or principal source aquifer pursuant to section 300h–3(e) of this title, has been submitted and approved by the Administrator and which satisfies the criteria established by the Administrator under subsection (d).
All or part of an area which is within an aquifer designated as a sole source aquifer as of June 19, 1986, and for which an areawide ground water quality protection plan has been approved under section 208 of the Clean Water Act [33 U.S.C. 1288] prior to June 19, 1986.

Any State, municipal or local government or political subdivision thereof or any planning entity (including any interstate regional planning entity) that identifies a critical aquifer protection area over which it has authority or jurisdiction may apply to the Administrator for the selection of such area for a demonstration program under this section. Any applicant shall consult with other government or planning entities with authority or jurisdiction in such area prior to application. Applicants, other than the Governor, shall submit the application for a demonstration program jointly with the Governor.

Not later than 1 year after June 19, 1986, the Administrator shall, by rule, establish criteria for identifying critical aquifer protection areas under this section. In establishing such criteria, the Administrator shall consider each of the following:
The vulnerability of the aquifer to contamination due to hydrogeologic characteristics.
The number of persons or the proportion of population using the ground water as a drinking water source.
The economic, social and environmental benefits that would result to the area from maintenance of ground water of high quality.
The economic, social and environmental costs that would result from degradation of the quality of the ground water.
Contents of application
An application submitted to the Administrator by any applicant for a demonstration program under this section shall meet each of the following requirements:
The application shall propose boundaries for the critical aquifer protection area within its jurisdiction.
The application shall designate or, if necessary, establish a planning entity (which shall be a public agency and which shall include representation of elected local and State governmental officials) to develop a comprehensive management plan (hereinafter in this section referred to as the “plan”) for the critical protection area. Where a local government planning agency exists with adequate authority to carry out this section with respect to any proposed critical protection area, such agency shall be designated as the planning entity.
The application shall establish procedures for public participation in the development of the plan, for review, approval, and adoption of the plan, and for assistance to municipalities and other public agencies with authority under State law to implement the plan.
The application shall include a hydrogeologic assessment of surface and ground water resources within the critical protection area.
The application shall include a comprehensive management plan for the proposed protection area.
The application shall include the measures and schedule proposed for implementation of such plan.
Comprehensive plan
The objective of a comprehensive management plan submitted by an applicant under this section shall be to maintain the quality of the ground water in the critical protection area in a manner reasonably expected to protect human health, the environment and ground water resources. In order to achieve such objective, the plan may be designed to maintain, to the maximum extent possible, the natural vegetative and hydrogeological conditions. Each of the following elements shall be included in such a protection plan:
A map showing the detailed boundary of the critical protection area.
An identification of existing and potential point and nonpoint sources of ground water degradation.
An assessment of the relationship between activities on the land surface and ground water quality.
Specific actions and management practices to be implemented in the critical protection area to prevent adverse impacts on ground water quality.
Identification of authority adequate to implement the plan, estimates of program costs, and sources of State matching funds.
Such plan may also include the following:
A determination of the quality of the existing ground water recharged through the special protection area and the natural recharge capabilities of the special protection area watershed.
Requirements designed to maintain existing underground drinking water quality or improve underground drinking water quality if prevailing conditions fail to meet drinking water standards, pursuant to this chapter and State law.
Limits on Federal, State, and local government, financially assisted activities and projects which may contribute to degradation of such ground water or any loss of natural surface and subsurface infiltration of purification capability of the special protection watershed.
A comprehensive statement of land use management including emergency contingency planning as it pertains to the maintenance of the quality of underground sources of drinking water or to the improvement of such sources if necessary to meet drinking water standards pursuant to this chapter and State law.
Actions in the special protection area which would avoid adverse impacts on water quality, recharge capabilities, or both.
Consideration of specific techniques, which may include clustering, transfer of development rights, and other innovative measures sufficient to achieve the objectives of this section.
Consideration of the establishment of a State institution to facilitate and assist funding a development transfer credit system.
A program for State and local implementation of the plan described in this subsection in a manner that will insure the continued, uniform, consistent protection of the critical protection area in accord with the purposes of this section.
Pollution abatement measures, if appropriate.
Plans under section 208 of Clean Water Act

A plan approved before June 19, 1986, under section 208 of the Clean Water Act [33 U.S.C. 1288] to protect a sole source aquifer designated under section 300h–3(e) of this title shall be considered a comprehensive management plan for the purposes of this section.

Consultation and hearings

During the development of a comprehensive management plan under this section, the planning entity shall consult with, and consider the comments of, appropriate officials of any municipality and State or Federal agency which has jurisdiction over lands and waters within the special protection area, other concerned organizations and technical and citizen advisory committees. The planning entity shall conduct public hearings at places within the special protection area for the purpose of providing the opportunity to comment on any aspect of the plan.

Approval or disapproval

Within 120 days after receipt of an application under this section, the Administrator shall approve or disapprove the application. The approval or disapproval shall be based on a determination that the critical protection area satisfies the criteria established under subsection (d) and that a demonstration program for the area would provide protection for ground water quality consistent with the objectives stated in subsection (f). The Administrator shall provide to the Governor a written explanation of the reasons for the disapproval of any such application. Any petitioner may modify and resubmit any application which is not approved. Upon approval of an application, the Administrator may enter into a cooperative agreement with the applicant to establish a demonstration program under this section.

Grants and reimbursement

Upon entering a cooperative agreement under subsection (i), the Administrator may provide to the applicant, on a matching basis, a grant of 50 per centum of the costs of implementing the plan established under this section. The Administrator may also reimburse the applicant of an approved plan up to 50 per centum of the costs of developing such plan, except for plans approved under section 208 of the Clean Water Act [33 U.S.C. 1288]. The total amount of grants under this section for any one aquifer, designated under section 300h–3(e) of this title, shall not exceed $4,000,000 in any one fiscal year.

Activities funded under other law

No funds authorized under this section may be used to fund activities funded under other sections of this chapter or the Clean Water Act [33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.], the Solid Waste Disposal Act [42 U.S.C. 6901 et seq.], the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 [42 U.S.C. 9601 et seq.] or other environmental laws.

Savings provision

Nothing under this section shall be construed to amend, supersede or abrogate rights to quantities of water which have been established by interstate water compacts, Supreme Court decrees, or State water laws; or any requirement imposed or right provided under any Federal or State environmental or public health statute.

Authorization of appropriations

There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section not more than the following amounts:

Fiscal year:














Matching grants under this section may also be used to implement or update any water quality management plan for a sole or principal source aquifer approved (before June 19, 1986) by the Administrator under section 208 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act [33 U.S.C. 1288].

(July 1, 1944, ch. 373, title XIV, § 1427, as added and amended Pub. L. 99–339, title II, § 203, title III, § 301(f), June 19, 1986, 100 Stat. 657, 664; Pub. L. 104–66, title II, § 2021(g), Dec. 21, 1995, 109 Stat. 727; Pub. L. 104–182, title I, § 120(a), title V, § 501(b)(2), (f)(3), Aug. 6, 1996, 110 Stat. 1650, 1691.)
cite as: 42 USC 300h-6