EPA APPROVES NEW JERSEY'S PROGRAM TO PROTECT GROUNDWATER USED IN PUBLIC DRINKING WATER SUPPLIES
EPA APPROVES NEW JERSEY'S PROGRAM TO PROTECT GROUNDWATER USED IN
PUBLIC DRINKING WATER SUPPLIES
NEW YORK, Dec. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved New Jersey's Wellhead Protection Program. The program focuses on protecting groundwater, used for public water supplies, from contaminants. Over 2,800 public supply wells will initially be affected by the program which is to be developed and implemented by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and Energy (NJDEPE).
"The program will safeguard the wellwater the public drinks," said Constantine Sidamon-Eristoff, EPA regional administrator. "The state will define what areas are to be protected, work with local governments to inventory what pollution sources could endanger the areas, then determine how to regulate those sources."
"Wellhead protection really means people protection," said NJDEPE Commissioner Scott Weiner. "This program will help prevent pollution of groundwater before it starts and help safeguard this precious natural resource for New Jersey citizens."
According to Weiner, the public wells to be protected under the program provide more than a third of the drinking water used in New Jersey and service nearly three million people.
Both agency heads lauded the cooperative efforts among the federal, state, county and municipal governments and the participation of water purveyors, environmental, business and industrial interest groups in crafting the design of the program.
Weiner emphasized the need for continued cooperation and public input as the NJDEPE pursues its three-prong strategy to: delineate the areas around wells to be protected, refine existing NJDEPE regulations needed to implement the plan, and conduct a major educational and outreach project to ensure county and municipal involvement.
After first addressing public water supply wells over the next two years, the program will include domestic wells in the future. The state will encourage parties affected by the delineation of protection areas, such as local governments and industry, to use site-specific information and computer models to establish the most accurate protection area possible. Once potential sources of contamination are identified, control measures will be expanded, both at state and local levels.
Sidamon-Eristoff said that EPA is acting under Section 1428 of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act of 1986, which requires states to develop plans to protect wellheads.
/CONTACT: Rich Cahill of EPA, 212-264-2515, or Judy Rotholz of NJDEPE, 609-292-2994/ CO: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ST: New Jersey, New York IN: SU: FC-KW -- NY008 -- 5276 12/26/91 11:46 EST