Research Methods

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  F&ES 851: Professor John Nolon

            Bruce Ho

           Lisa Botero

           30 April 2004
              National Land Use Law Library: Topical Paper













       Aquifers contain most of the freshwater on the planet and are significant

resources ecologically and economically. Millions of Americans depend on healthy

aquifers to provide a safe and adequate water supply at a relatively low cost. One of the

most common ways for towns and municipalities to meet the water needs of citizens is

by retrieving water from aquifers via wells. All users have a stake in aquifer health and

share the responsibility to ensure aquifer integrity for present and future use. Because

of their unique unseen and transboundary nature, aquifers present a challenge to the

regulatory world.

       Threats to aquifers are plentiful and include urban and agricultural runoff,

industrial and domestic wastewater discharges, septic systems, concentrated animal

operations, and virtually any other activity that discharges a pollutant into the water

cyclei. Urbanization of the watershed in general increases the likelihood of spills of

hazardous materials and contaminated runoff reaching the aquifer.                Protection of

aquifers is important in part because it saves money by avoiding costs associated with

pollution cleanup. Restoring contaminated aquifers is often not only extremely

expensive, but it is very difficult given the inaccessibility and interconnectivity of aquifers.

Establishing legal and financial liability for cleanup is also a challenge given the nature of

aquifer use. A proactive approach to protection of aquifers also offers ecological benefits

by safeguarding a major component of the hydrologic cycle. Water is so highly

transferable between its various reservoirs on Earth that threats in one front, albeit

underground and out of sight, can potentially endanger the system as a whole. Human

health is also part of the ecological web a healthy aquifer supports. Many types of

contaminants including microbial, inorganic and organic, chemical, and radioactive

pollution might be present in water extracted from source waters. By preventing aquifer
contamination and decline, citizens can better minimize public exposure to potentially

dangerous pollutants and plan for sustainable population growth.

          Aquifer protection at the local level has numerous benefits. Providing local

solutions to local problems empowers those most familiar with the history, culture, and

nuances of the particular area. Furthermore, the drinking water supply is primarily a local

responsibility and protection of the resource should attempt match the scale of the issue.

Often the particular geology and topography of a town or city governs the method in

which the municipality obtains drinking water. Tailoring aquifer protection in light of

unique local features, such as highly permeable soils or extremely shallow wells, allows

regulation to better serve the public interest.

          Currently, federal regulations such as the Clean Water Act and the Safe Drinking

Water Act offer a degree of protection to aquifers across the nation. Enabling federal

legislation charges state governments with the responsibility to implement federally

compliant plans for potable water and various water quality criteria. In addition, states

can individually define the rights to groundwater and pass their own legislation protecting

aquifers. Both federal and state governments offer financial and advisory assistance to

local municipalities. Sub-state regional efforts to regulate aquifers also exist, which

attempt to control and coordinate aquifer use across state lines. At the local level,

regulation of aquifers primarily takes place through the authority of planning and zoning

boards. Trends differ across the country in terms of style and approach to aquifer

regulation at each level of government. In the western states, sub-state regional

associations seem to be more common than in the eastern region. Western states also

tend to have different definitions of groundwater rights and often govern the resource as

a mineral. Eastern and mid-western states often rely on planning commissions or

nonprofit organizations to coordinate the aquifer protection efforts between numerous

       The nature and extent of local regulation of aquifers across the nation is the

primary focus of this study. The research team aimed to identify numerous innovative

aquifer regulations in the various geographic and climatic regions of the country. Local

aquifer regulation is a fairly recent movement and the research team recognizes that any

local regulation of aquifers might be innovative to a particular area. Thus, due to the

subjectivity of the term and for the purposes of this study, the term “innovative” was

interpreted broadly. Current ordinances serve as examples for each category and sub-

category of regulation, and a discussion of each law includes the characteristics that are

unique and innovative. Details about the provisions contained in the ordinances serve to

highlight particularly pioneering sections within ordinances. In addition to categorization

of the regulations, the study proposed to identify key agents of change that are

instrumental to the evolution or adoption of innovative local aquifer regulation. The

research team intended to reveal the methods by which innovative aquifer regulations

become adopted and accepted in communities throughout the nation. The contact

information for each of the innovative ordinances will assist those seeking guidance in

their regulatory endeavors.

       From this investigation it is clear that a variety of approaches to local aquifer

regulation exist, however, some obvious trends emerge. The majority of the innovative

ordinances discovered use some variation of an overlay district that restricts uses

negatively affecting aquifers. Names for the protection districts range from the basic

aquifer overlay district to aquifer conservation districts. Another class of zones

discovered is the wellhead protection area or district that specifically address regulation

of uses around drinking water wells. Some ordinances only regulated well standards and

establish performance standards for extraction of water from aquifers and well operation.

The investigation did not uncover any ordinances that regulate the aquifer solely to

protect its ecological value; instead all the ordinances support drinking water protection
and public health. Within each of the types of district, aquifer and wellhead alike, a huge

degree of variation exists as to the level of ordinance supremacy, public education,

program funding, and other elements the ordinance includes. Relatively simple and non-

controversial fee-based ordinances are not very common, however, one example does

exist in the state of Washington. In addition, ordinances that set out general provisions of

use without listing many specific regulated activities are also are not as common,

although they tend to play a significant in land use decisions. The most common change

agents revealed through the study are federal and state government initiatives, crises-

driven action, and the work of nonprofit and coalition drives to protect aquifers.

                               CATEGORIES OF LAWS

       Local governments in the United States have taken many different approaches to

aquifer protection. Categorizing local aquifer regulations provides a useful way to look at

the mechanisms that these governments use. This report identifies four types of

regulations. While categories overlap, these laws were categorized based on their most

innovative or most substantial component for simplicity in presentation. The first type of

ordinance identified is also the simplest. These laws charge property owners within an

aquifer area fees for either water use or waste disposal. The local government uses fees

to pay for public improvements that help decrease sources of contamination. The

second and most common type of aquifer protection laws operates by prohibiting or

restricting particular land use activities within a designated aquifer recharge zone or

wellhead protection area. These ordinances can be very successful at preventing

contamination from known sources from harming drinking water supplies. A third method

of regulation focuses on well standards for construction, modification, and destruction,
which address contamination from poorly constructed or abandoned wells. The fourth

and final approach focuses largely on water quality criteria to regulate land use. These

laws, which are less common than specific use regulations, require the examination or

review of all development activities within the aquifer area. This last method of regulation

is more encompassing and perhaps more innovative. However, as with all laws,

enforcement is often more important than the type of regulation in determining its



          Fee-based regulations charge users for aquifer use or for on-site waste disposal

(septic tank) in an aquifer zone. In Spokane County, Washington, these fees are used to

upgrade and extend sewer connections so as to decrease aquifer contamination from

septic systems. Smaller parts of larger aquifer ordinances commonly incorporate fee-

based regulations such as in Leon County, Florida. Laws like Leon County’s are

categorized elsewhere because this analysis focuses on the most innovative or most

substantial provision of the ordinances. A fee-based ordinance is unlikely to fully protect

an aquifer system on its own, but it can provide targeted relief for a specific problem.

Spokane County, Washington: Aquifer Fees

          Spokane County collects aquifer feesi from property owners “to preserve, protect

and rehabilitate the Spokane Rathdrum Aquifer.”ii The ordinance provides that these

fees be added to the property tax statement, although it stresses that “this is a fee, not a

tax.”iii The ordinance allows the county to place a lien on a property if the fee is not


       The most common tool used to protect aquifers is the overlay zone or district.

Most of these zones prohibit certain uses within an aquifer recharge area or wellhead

protection area. These ordinances are characterized by lists of prohibited or restricted

uses that are enforced in addition to the regulations of the underlying districts. Best

management practices are sometimes listed next to restricted activities as permitting

requirements. Overlay zones with specific use prohibitions are sound methods of

regulation because they address known threats to the aquifer and they clearly define

regulated parties. Drawbacks to overlay districts with specific use prohibitions might

include the possibility of use exclusion if the list is too narrow, controversy or opposition

from targeted users, and the lack of flexibility to adapt to new uses. Given the breadth of

this category, additional distinctions have been made to separate laws based on

provisions that include things such as public education requirements, program funding

mechanisms, and performance standards.

Hernando County, Florida: Groundwater Protection and Siting

       Hernando is a rural county on the central west coast of Florida. The county’s

groundwater protection ordinancev uses a combination of wellhead protection areas and

specific use prohibitions to protect and maintain the quality of groundwater in the county.

The ordinance contains provisions for the registration of potential pollution sources,

inspection of property, and enforcement. Also included is a rare provision to establish

and collect fees to cover the implementation cost of the ordinance and protecting the

public in the event of contamination. The availability of funding can be a limiting factor to

financially strapped towns and the funding provision provides a good idea about how to

make innovative aquifer regulations feasible. The ordinance is also unique in its

reference to the science upon which it is based and use of science to support the
delineation of protection areas. The ordinance’s reliance on science helps provide

legitimacy and legal durability to the law. Hernando County’s method of aquifer

regulation is innovative in so far as it states explicitly the science and methodology

behind the ordinance and uses science to its advantage, while providing a realistic

method to fund the protection.

Leon County, Florida: Aquifer/Wellhead Protection

       Designers of the Leon County ordinancevi intended it to protect the quality and

quantity of groundwater by providing guidelines for the handling of hazardous materials

in the aquifer/wellhead protection area. One characteristic unique to the Leon County

ordinance is its definition of the aquifer/wellhead protection area, which encompasses all

county lands and waters. This regulation contains public education requirements in order

to correct current practices that endanger the aquifer and involve the use, storage, and

disposal of regulated substance. A provision of the ordinance requires the development

an annual report detailing the extent of the public education activities and the status of

the groundwater program activities. The law establishes a fee mechanism for program

funding that helps defray the cost of the inspection program. Additionally, the ordinance

enables resolutions to establish further fees in order to provide funding for operation and

implementation of future aquifer protection remediation.

Hatfield, Massachusetts: Water Supply Protection District

       Hatfield is a small town near the New Hampshire border with a small population.

The purpose of the Water Supply Protection Districtvii in Hatfield is to protect and

preserve groundwater resources through the regulation of specific uses within an

established primary recharge area. The Water Supply Protection District consists of two

zones of protection. Zone II is the area of an aquifer that contributes to water used in
wells and the ordinance states that scientific hydro-geologic studies determine the

boundaries of this district. The ordinance contains a list of a whole host of uses

prohibited in the entire Water Supply Protection District, including solid waste landfills,

underground storage tanks, outdoor storage of pesticides, fertilizers, commercial fuel oil

storage and sales, and sand and gravel operations. One of the most unique

characteristics of this ordinance is its requirement of a special use permit for the

rendering impervious of greater than 15% of any lot and the additional development

requirement of an artificial recharge system for precipitation.

Merrimack, New Hampshire: Aquifer Conservation District

        Merrimack is a large town located in central southern New Hampshire. The

town’s ordinance protects, preserves, and maintains the existing and potential

groundwater supply from inappropriate land use practices by establishing an aquifer

conservation districtviii and prohibiting and restricting certain uses within the district. The

lengthy list of prohibited uses includes industrial uses which discharge contact water on

site, commercial animal feedlots, mining of land, and the sale, storage, lease, or rental of

used and new motorized vehicle. The equally long list of regulated uses includes

heliports and airports, recharge of surface runoff, and metalworking shops. The primary

uses targeted by the Merrimack and Hatfield, Massachusetts regulations are those

associated with cars, large-scale or concentrated animal feedlots,, de-icing material

storage, handling of    hazardous materials, and wastewater treatment. An innovative

aspect of the Merrimack ordinance that gives it procedural weight is the inclusion of

provisions that require revision of new development with respect to the aquifer

ordinance. The Conservation Commission and the Merrimack Village District must

review a new plan for development with respect to its potential impact on the town’s

groundwater resources and the public drinking water supply.
Walpole, New Hampshire: Town Well Source Protection Ordinance

       In March 2004, Walpole, a small town in southern New Hampshire, passed a

town ordinance protecting its well source.ix This ordinance serves to protect, preserve,

and maintain existing and potential groundwater supply and recharge areas from

adverse development by regulating land uses over the aquifer. The ordinance

establishes an aquifer protection district and prohibits specific uses such as commercial

feedlots, auto repair shops, and disposal of solid waste. One of the innovative aspects of

this ordinance is the fact that conditional permits are granted based on performance

standards that restrict uses, either alone or on a cumulative basis, from causing harm to

the aquifer. The ordinance also ensures use will not inhibit or prevent recharge to the

aquifer and requires permitting for multi-family residential development and sand and

gravel operations. This ordinance is unique in that it offers numerous and strict

performance standards within the protection district, in addition to specific prohibitions.

Performance standards raise the level of accountability of users, increase the level of

protection the aquifer receives, and speaks to how much the town values the aquifers.

Fairfield, Ohio: Wellhead Protection Program

       Fairfield is a town in southwestern Ohio near the state’s border with Indiana. The

Town’s wellhead protection programx regulates hazardous substances and prohibits

specific pollutants in designated wellhead protection zones. Regulated substances must

register and comply with substance release standards and inspections. The ordinance is

unique in that it scientifically designates three wellhead protection areas that decrease in

restriction with increasing distance from aquifer withdraw points. The Fairfield ordinance,

much like the Weston, Wisconsin ordinance, represents an innovative interpretation of

the standard list of regulated substances. The list of regulated substances is lengthy,
however, Fairfield’s planning director reserves the right to designate additional

substances or remove substances. The Fairfield wellhead protection program is

innovative in its attempts to tailor the scale of regulation to the need by creating multiple

districts instead of one blanket district. Multiple districting might be less controversial to

the public because it attempts to meet the protection requirements while causing the

least amount of burden on afflicted users. Although, one-size districts might provide

consistency, Fairfield’s use of multiple districting might be the wisest decision based on

science and the particular characteristics of the region.

Brookings County, South Dakota: Aquifer Protection Overlay District

        This Aquifer Protection Overlay Districtxi establishes an aquifer protection overlay

district “to protect public health and safety by minimizing contamination of the

shallow/surficial aquifers of Brookings County.”xii The ordinance creates two zones: Zone

A, a critical impact zone, which is defined as the 10 year time of travel wellhead

protection area and contributing drainage areas;xiii and Zone B, a secondary impact

zone, which includes the remainder of the aquifer.xiv The ordinance lists specific

permitted and prohibited uses in each zone as well as uses permitted by special

exception. Zone A explicitly lists all permitted and special exception uses and includes a

list of prohibited uses, one of which is “all uses not permitted or not permitted as special

exceptions in Zone A.”xv Zone B is less comprehensive and permits many uses allowed

in underlying districts,xvi while prohibiting a set of five uses.xvii All uses permitted in either

Zone A or Zone B, with or without special exception, are required to meet performance

standards which limit such things as quantities of hazardous materials used and protect

against onsite waste disposal and unintentional contamination.xviii
Salt Lake City, Utah: Groundwater Source Protection Overlay District

        Salt Lake City creates a Groundwater Source Protection Overlay District xix to

“protect, preserve, and maintain existing potential public drinking groundwater sources in

order to safeguard the public health, safety and welfare of customers and other users of

the City’s public drinking water supply, distribution, and delivery system.”xx The District

establishes a primary recharge area, secondary recharge area, and four protection

zones based on a 100 foot radius, 250 day time of travel (TOT), 3 year TOT, and 15

year TOT, with respect to city well collection areas.xxi The law includes a comprehensive

list of restricted and prohibited uses within these areasxxii and sets best management

standards for various activities.xxiii The law bans any discharge “of any regulated

substance…that may have a deleterious effect upon the groundwater in the City, unless

the discharge is in compliance with Federal, State, and local regulations.”xxiv Permits are

required for restricted usesxxv and permit applications may only be approved if the Public

Utilities Department “finds that the proposed use will not have an adverse impact on

groundwater quality, or that the potential adverse impacts can be mitigated by

implementing best management practices or other strategies.”xxvi The ordinance

establishes enforcement through administrative orders, fines, and civil and criminal


Tumwater, Washington: Aquifer Protection Standards

Tumwater, Washington: Wellhead Protection

Tumwater, Washington: AQP Aquifer Protection Overlay

        Tumwater, Washington, has three related aquifer protection ordinances. The

Aquifer Protection Standardsxxviii are designed “to conserve and protect the underground

waters and aquifers over which the City rests.”xxix The ordinance requires permitting of

regulated facilitiesxxx and is “applied on a city-wide basis.”xxxi Standards are set for
stormwater retention facilities, facilities with underground storage tanks, and facilities

with aboveground storage tanks. Construction, which occurs outside of the Aquifer

Protection Zone District is required to protect the aquifer, but may be subject to lesser

restrictions if it has an approved Aquifer Protection Plan.xxxii The Aquifer Protection

Overlay zone (AQP)xxxiii “protect[s] vulnerable aquifer recharge areas within the City and

urban growth area” by “impos[ing] additional restrictions on development in order to

protect public health and safety by preserving the existing and future groundwater

supply.”xxxiv The district restricts seven activities unless they comply with best

management practices.xxxv Finally, Tumwater’s Wellhead Protectionxxxvi is designed “to

develop and implement a wellhead protection program to identify risks of contamination

potentially impacting city wells, and to reduce or eliminate those risks.”xxxvii The

ordinance identifies four wellhead capture zones at six months, one year, five years, and

ten years.xxxviii Various activities are prohibited within these zones, with the six month

zone being more prohibitive than the ten year zone.xxxix New and expanding uses of

hazardous materials within these zones must submit documentation showing that they

will not harm the aquifer; after review of this documentation, the use may be fully or

conditionally approved or denied.xl An existing uses within one of these zones must have

an approved “pollution prevention plan that will ensure adequate protection of the source

water supply.”xli

Weston, Wisconsin: Wellhead Protection District Ordinance

        Weston’s ordinancexlii protects the village's groundwater recharge zone from

contamination by regulating uses within the zone. A short list describes the prohibited

uses within the zone, however, the ordinance contains a disclaimer that allows flexibility

to incorporate new uses in the future. A defining feature of this ordinance is that it

requires a planning commission review of new uses in the district with every submission
of building, site, and operational plans. Both Pekin and Weston ordinances help ensure

new use compliance with aquifer ordinances and directly impact land use decisions

because the ordinances are an essential step in the permitting of any new development.

Unique to the Weston ordinance is the aspect of supremacy, wherein the ordinances

trumps all other districts occupying the same geographic area. The ordinance

specifically addresses loopholes by prohibiting the substitution of other hazardous

pollutant storage methods simply to obtain permits. Additionally, the ordinance

establishes a scientific basis for the list of prohibited uses and identifies the use of

geologic expertise as its guidance in determining use prohibition.

Laramie, Wyoming: Aquifer Protection Overlay Zone

       This Aquifer Protection Overlay Zonexliii begins with scientific/geologic findings

that establish the importance of the ordinance to the protection of Laramie’s public water

supply. The purpose of this ordinance is “to safeguard the Casper aquifer wells and

springs which provide 60% of the City’s municipal water.”xliv To accomplish this purpose,

Laramie creates an aquifer protection overlay zone (APO zone)xlv within which a total of

36 activities are prohibited, including the use of dry cleaning solvents.xlvi The ordinance

provides for additional restrictions around “vulnerable features” in the aquifer that could

increase potential harm from contamination.xlvii The ordinance also sets a sunset date by

which annexed properties must connect to the city sewage treatment system and after

which septic systems cannot be used.xlviii With the exception of septic systems, pre-

existing non-conforming uses are allowed to continue indefinitely so long as they comply

with certain hazardous materials standards.xlix Expansion of non-conforming uses is

permitted so long as such activities do not increase the risk to groundwater.l

       Some regulations are designed to protect aquifers from poorly constructed or

abandoned wells. Wellhead protection laws often focus on protecting wells from

contaminants that enter the aquifer in the surrounding area, but wells themselves can be

a conduit for contamination. An abandoned well can provide a direct entry for runoff

pollutants into sensitive drinking water supplies. Recognizing this potential problem,

some communities have enacted well ordinances that are designed to set particular well

performance standards, permitting requirements, and inspection mechanisms to ensure

that the local government knows where wells are and what condition they are in. These

well ordinances may be combined with other laws or plans to provide more complete

aquifer protection.

Riverside County, California: Construction, Reconstruction, Abandonment, and
Destruction of Wells

       Riverside County establishes an ordinance regulating the Construction,

Reconstruction, Abandonment and Destruction of Wellsli in order to “(a) protect

underground water resources, and (b) provide safe water to persons within Riverside

County.”lii All persons must obtain a permit before constructing or reconstructing a wellliii

and must have a C-57 contractor’s license as issued by the State of California.liv

Applications for permits must include a variety of information on the physical

characteristics property, the well specifications, and additional property features, which

include other wells, underground storage tanks, and waste disposal As a method

of protecting the groundwater, the ordinance establishes that “as a condition of a

construction or reconstruction permit, any abandoned wells on the property shall be

destroyed in accordance with standards provided in this ordinance.”lvi The ordinance

sets well standards,lvii inspection requirements prior to issuance of a permit,lviii and
inspection requirements prior to certain other well activities,lix which help ensure that

wells and well activities do not contaminate the water. Wells are also required to meet

water quality standards, which are established by the State of California.lx The ordinance

requires that an abandoned well be destroyed and securely capped if it is “found…to be

a hazard, whereby its continued existence is likely to cause damage to ground water or

a threat to public health and safety.”lxi

Springfield, Missouri: Wells

        One example of an outlier to the overlay district approach is in the southwestern

Missouri town of Springfield. Local decision makers decided that an overlay approach

would not suit the needs of the Springfield Community after trying the method and

feeling unsatisfied with the results. One ordinance that protects the aquifers in

Springfield is a health and sanitation ordinancelxii that regulates the drilling, construction,

and abandonment of wells in the city in order to prevent hazards to water quality. The

law protects public health and welfare through the permitting and management of wells,

rather than through the establishment of a wellhead or aquifer district. The city further

protects its sources of drinking water through the protection plan developed by the

Watershed Management Coordinating Committee of the Ozarks. While the health and

sanitation ordinance specifically addresses well management, the Committee’s plan has

education, cost sharing, and water quality monitoring elements that are quite innovative.

The plan requires the Committee to review all developments proposed in the watershed,

sponsor education and outreach events, and promote cost sharing among farmers,

developers, and landowners. The ordinances protection the drinking water supply in

Springfield represent a combination approach that uses well management in addition to

a greater plan to raise awareness about aquifer protection, monitor development in the

watershed, and ease economic hardship associated with compliance.

       Regulations that require general aquifer protection and include only limited listing

of regulated uses fall into the category of general requirement regulations. Like specific

use regulations, these ordinances often make use of overlay zones, but this is not

always the case. Ordinances of this type tend to focus on the regulation of any pollutants

that could contaminate the aquifer, rather than the regulation of specific known

contaminating uses. The distinction between general requirement regulations and

specific prohibition regulation is necessary and important for a few reasons. Ordinances

that regulate specific uses are often more reactive in nature, and most do not make

allowances to regulate for future potential contaminating uses without requiring an

amendment. General requirement regulations cover any land use that could contaminate

the aquifer, leaving room for changes in technology and the industrial character of the

town. Thus, general requirement regulations have a greater longevity in the regulatory

world, as they have the ability to adapt to changes in land use over time. Limitations may

still occur depending on how regulated substances are defined, but general criteria

ordinances are still more likely to survive entry of new harmful activities into the

community. General requirement regulations are more inclusive and flexible, and tend to

be more aggressive procedurally in the absence of specific use restrictions.

Pekin, Illinois: Groundwater Protection Ordinance

       Similar to other ordinances, Pekin’s Groundwater Protection Ordinancelxiii is to

preserve the quality and quantity of groundwater through the establishment of a setback

zone. The quality that separates Pekin’s ordinance from others is its general applicability

and emphasis on the procedural importance of the ordinance. The ordinance broadly
defines new potential primary and secondary sources and routes. The ordinance applies

to any new construction or major reconstruction project and thereby encompasses a

wide array of potential polluters of the aquifer. The teeth of the ordinance lie in the fact

that developers and other potential sources of aquifer contamination must comply with

the ordinance in order to receive building permit approval.

Limington, Maine:

       The rural southern Maine town of Limington establishes performance standards

for aquifer users in its zoning ordinance.lxiv Article VIII of the ordinance regulates those

who use the aquifer for the purpose of water extraction and prohibits the extraction of

water to the extent that it causes undesirable changes in groundwater flow, pollution,

and sedimentation or erosion. The ordinance is designed to provide general provisions

that maintain safe and healthful conditions associated with groundwater use and

extraction. The performance standards that Limington adopted are unique in that they

force water use in the town to be sustainable. By requiring that water extraction not

detrimentally affect the aquifer, the Town is calling for environmental stewardship on the

part of water users.

Missoula, Montana: Missoula Valley Water Quality Ordinance

       The Missoula Valley Water Quality Ordinancelxv “is intended to protect the public

health, safety and general welfare of those utilizing the Missoula Valley Aquifer.”lxvi The

ordinance accomplishes this purpose through the use of pollution prevention

requirements that restrict the use, handling and storage of regulated substances and

requires various best management practices to be used.lxvii This ordinance also requires

secondary containment for underground storage tanks, permitting of injection wells, that

abandoned wells comply with state regulations, and that nonconforming uses not be
expanded.lxviii Permits are required to use regulated substances and permit applications

must include a Pollution Prevention Plan,lxix which includes a list of potential risks to

water quality and proposed methods to address these risks; explains on site emergency

equipment and a remediation plan in case of a release; contains a full description of all

regulated substances and how they will be used and disposed of at the facility; and

demonstrates compliance with secondary containment requirements.lxx Facilities that use

regulated substances must report any releases.lxxi The ordinance also contains

standards for siting water supply wells and restricts certain new facilities from being built

within applicable distances from existing wells.lxxii Variances to the ordinance are

permitted but they may not “adversely affect the health, safety, or welfare of any

individual.”lxxiii The ordinance permits the city and the Missoula Valley Water Quality

District to inspect “with or without prior notice, all facilities within the Aquifer Protection

Area, which it reasonably believes may handle Regulated Substances,”lxxiv and grants

enforcement authority to the District.lxxv

Springfield, Oregon: Drinking Water Protection (DWP) Overlay District

        Springfield creates a Drinking Water Protection Overlay Districtlxxvi that contains

four time of travel zones (TOTZ) around its wellheads “to protect aquifers used as

potable water supply sources by the City from contamination.”lxxvii Within these zones,

the ordinance restricts use of hazardous materials, which could potentially enter and

harm the groundwater.lxxviii The district includes 0-1, 1-5, 5-10, and 10-20 year TOTZ.lxxix

The highest level of restrictions is in the 0-1 TOTZ and these restrictions decrease out to

the 10-20 TOTZ.lxxx The TOTZ restrict or prohibit particular hazardous materials as well

as classes of hazardous materials. While some specific activities and facilities are

prohibited, such as solid waste landfills,lxxxi the ordinance primarily targets the general

use of hazardous materials. The ordinance sets performance standards, such as
secondary containment, for hazardous materials use within the TOTZ and requires

varying levels of monitoring, inspections, and compliance with fire and safety standards

particular to each TOTZ.lxxxii The city may attach conditions of approval to use

applications within the district “that will minimize negative impacts…and ensure that the

facility or the proposed development can fully meet the standards.”lxxxiii

San Antonio, Texas: Aquifer Recharge Zone and Watershed Protection

       San    Antonio    establishes   its   Aquifer   Recharge    Zone      and   Watershed

Protectionlxxxiv law in order to meet its “goal of nondegradation which maintains or

improves the quality of water entering the Edwards Aquifer.”lxxxv This goal is

accomplished by requiring a letter of certification for all development activities in the

Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone (EARZ).lxxxvi Persons wishing to develop in the EARZ

must submit a lengthy application that details the features of the property, creates plans

for sediment control, drainage, and maintenance, details the activities that will take place

on the property, and sets up required monitoring and performance requirements as

provided by the law.lxxxvii The law further restricts development in floodplain areas within

the EARZlxxxviii and sets up buffer zones around these areas for further protection. lxxxix

“Significant recharge features” are protected by buffer zones to prevent contamination.xc

The primary ways that the law prevents aquifer degradation are by establishing pollution

prevention criteria, largely through impervious cover limits, that must be used

incorporated into developmentxci and by requiring best management practices, which

include use of vegetative buffer zones, to reduce site discharge.xcii Enforcement authority

is granted to the San Antonio Water System, xciii which has “the authority to seek legal

and/or equitable remedies for violations of this division, including the filing of criminal

charges.”xciv The city attorney also has the ability to enforce the law. xcv A variance to the
law may only be granted if, among other things, it “will not be contrary to the public


Tacoma, Washington: South Tacoma Groundwater Protection District

         Tacoma establishes the South Tacoma Groundwater Protection Districtxcvii in

order “to prevent the degradation of groundwater in the South Tacoma aquifer system by

controlling the use and handling of hazardous substances.”xcviii While the law primarily

regulates “new, substantially modified, and existing developments and facilities” the

Health Department may require that “an existing facility shall comply with the inspecting,

monitoring, and testing requirements.”xcix The district lists particular “high impact” uses

that are prohibited within the District.c Permits are also required for all activities that use

hazardous substances and applicants must have “demonstrated that said facility

complies with all provisions of this chapter and the standards set forth in the General

Guidance and Performance Standards.”ci The ordinance sets requirements for new and

existing underground storage tanks and requires that tank owners comply with specific

procedures when abandoning or closing a tank.cii The city is authorized to inspect

underground tanks to ensure compliance with the law.ciii Owners of tanks must report

any releases or potential releases.civ The ordinance lists additional requirements for

aboveground storage tankscv and requires owners and operators of tanks to keep



         The Edwards Aquifer is a high quality source of drinking water that covers 8,000

square miles in 13 Texas counties, including Bexar County, where San Antonio is

located.cvii A total of 1.3 million people rely on the Edwards Aquifer for their drinking

water needs.cviii The City of San Antonio depends heavily on the aquifer and this has led
to legislative aquifer protection efforts by the city for nearly three decades.cix In 1995,

San Antonio passed Ordinance No. 81491, which was designed to protect the aquifer

from harmful contaminants that could jeopardize this

       In its ordinance, San Antonio sets “a goal of nondegradation which maintains or

improves the quality of water entering the Edwards Aquifer.”cxi This goal is accomplished

through measures to prevent both point and non-point source pollution from entering the

Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone (EARZ). The city’s “Aquifer Recharge Zone and

Watershed Protection” ordinance is an excellent example of a general water quality

ordinance that uses science and strict limits on development in sensitive areas to

preserve the quality of the city’s drinking water. San Antonio’s ordinance is notable

because it:

      Makes a strong, ambitious goal of nondegradation.

      Provides a strong enforcement mechanism

      Requires a comprehensive development plan and scientific study to be taken for

       any development within the EARZ

      Protects floodplain areas and other significant recharge features which contribute

       to the aquifer

      Targets impervious surfaces as a means to decrease non-point source pollution

      Allows only limited variances that meet strict standards

   In its statement of purpose, the ordinance states that “the City of San Antonio herby

adopts this policy of nondegradation to insure the preservation of a clean and safe

drinking water supply.”cxii This policy sets an ambitious goal that makes it clear that the

ordinance’s provisions are intended to protect water quality for the public good above
other development interests. In its “Interpretation” section, the ordinance further states

that the standards set forth should be “considered as minimum requirements,” and

“liberally constructed in favor of the governing body.”cxiii The ordinance also provides that

the San Antonio Water System (SAWS), the city’s municipal water company, is to

administer the ordinance,cxiv which helps ensure that water quality is more likely to be

considered before other interests.

        Many local laws provide for impressive protection of natural resources, including

aquifers, but fail to include a strong enforcement mechanism. While enforcement is at

least in part a function of the dedication of municipal officials, the lack of a clear

mechanism for enforcement can make it difficult for such officials to perform their duties.

San Antonio’s ordinance provides clear definitions of violations and creates penalty

mechanisms that can be used to address such violations. The first section of the law

states that “any act or omission contrary to the requirements or directives of this division,

or any breach of any duty imposed by this division shall constitute a violation hereof.” cxv

While this definition is broad, it is clear that failure to comply with the ordinance is a

violation. The ordinance gives SAWS authority to enforce the ordinance and provides

that the utility can utilize the City attorney’s office to prosecute offenses.cxvi SAWS is also

authorized “to seek legal and/or equitable remedies for violations of this divisions,

including the filing of criminal charges.”cxvii Additionally, the ordinance provides for stiff

civil and criminal penalties.cxviii

        Development in the EARZ is only permitted if SAWS issues a letter of

certification.cxix To apply for such a letter, a developer must complete a thorough

application that includes general tract location and orientation information as well as

more specific identification of environmental attributes, including flood plain areas,

significant recharge features, and topographic information. The developer must also

provide an erosion/sedimentation plan, drainage plan, and a maintenance plan. Detailed
construction plans are required that show that the project will not violate provisions of the

ordinance. Furthermore, the developer must provide information such as “baseline data

from surface water samples required to be taken or maintained under regulations

established by the San Antonio Water System,” which help ensure that water quality

standards are maintained.cxx

        Floodplain protection within the EARZ helps maintain water quality by limiting

sources of pollution. The ordinance designates 100-year floodplains and only permits

limited, low impact development activities within these areas.cxxi The ordinance provides

that “at the time of site development plan review, the director…shall make a report…on

any significant environmental impact, with an emphasis on protecting potential

recharge.”cxxii Buffers are further placed around floodplain areas to limit development

impacts.cxxiii In addition to floodplains, the ordinance protects other significant recharge

features to allow entry of water into the aquifer and to prevent contaminants from

entering drinking water supplies through these areas.cxxiv

        Non-point source pollution prevention is achieved by restricting the percent of

impervious cover that is allowable within the EARZ. Impervious surfaces decrease

natural vegetative filtering and act to channel polluted runoff into waterways where it can

enter recharge areas and the aquifer. The ordinance creates three categories of lands in

the city and its extraterritorial jurisdiction that set different levels of allowable impervious

surfaces for various kinds of development.cxxv A potential problem with the ordinance is

that it grandfathers in previously issued permits by allowing very high levels of

impervious surface coverage.cxxvi This is a function of state law, however, and the

ordinance specifies that “to the extent allowed by law” this special permit status will be

lost if the plans are “substantially altered.”cxxvii Impervious surfaces in the form of city

streets are also identified as sources of aquifer contamination. Streets, therefore, must

be designed to “capture and treat first flush runoff from the roadway.”cxxviii
       Lastly, while variances to the ordinance are permitted, the variance provisions

are very strict and limited. This helps ensure that the spirit of the ordinance is not

circumvented. Variances are required to “not be contrary to the public interest”cxxix to “not

substantially weaken the general purposes of this division or the regulations herein

established for the regulated area of the recharge zone.”cxxx

       San Antonio’s ordinance provides strong water quality protection that helps

ensure that it can attain its goal of nondegradation of the Edwards Aquifer. This

ordinance is not without flaws, however. As mentioned, above, the reduced impervious

requirements for previously permitted activities is a weakness that could decrease the

ordinance’s effectiveness. The greatest weakness of this ordinance, however, is that it

does not explicitly list out any regulated substances. This omission decreases the

ordinance’s overall effectiveness because, although the policy of nondegradation is

clear, there are not explicit requirements that could be either cited by the city in pursuing

violators or, perhaps equally importantly, in providing businesses with a clearer idea of

what they must do to comply with regulations.


       Innovation in local aquifer protection comes from a variety of sources. Federal

laws such as the Safe Drinking Water Act can provide an impetus for development of

local aquifer protection. States laws adopted to comply with federal mandates, to

strengthen state water standards, or to give local governments more control over their

water resources are also important drivers of local aquifer protection legislation.

However, government mandates alone do not generally spur innovation in the

development of local aquifer protections. Federal and state regulations are likely to
prompt the initial adoption of aquifer protection regulation, but innovative approaches

most often arise out of specific need. Crises related to contamination of public or private

wells are common drivers of innovative local legislation as communities respond to

threats to their drinking water supplies. However, crisis or not, no innovative aquifer

protection legislation can be successful in either implementation or adoption; without a

mix of strong local leadership; technical and sometimes financial assistance from state

and federal agencies, universities and nonprofits; and public support. Given the trans-

boundary nature of aquifers, successful local level aquifer protection laws are also often

the result of activities carried out by coalitions between cities and counties or because of

the existence of an influential regional planning agency, which is able to help coordinate


           The following change agent descriptions are primarily based on information

gained from conversations with city and county staff and officials and other individuals

involved with passing the aquifer ordinances described in this paper. A list of these

individuals, their positions and their contact information can be found in the Individuals

Contacted section at the end of this document.


           In the late 1980s, the State of California developed a model well ordinance and

mandated that all local jurisdictions adopt this model or develop their own ordinances to

protect aquifer resources within the state. Riverside County chose to draft its own well

ordinance, which was originally adopted in late 1989 and amended most recently in

1999. Riverside’s ordinance was written by an engineer with the county, and combined

elements from the state ordinance, ordinances adopted by neighboring communities,

and measures designed to account for the county’s size and rural communities. After the
county approved the ordinance, it was presented to the local governments of all 27

municipalities for their adoption. City concerns and public comments were solicited and

county representatives also visited interested parties, such as local well drillers

associations, to explain the reason for the ordinance and its provisions. While there was

some opposition among well drillers who did not wish to be regulated, the county was

able to largely win opponents over and get the ordinance passed by each of the cities.


       The discovery of tetrachloroethylene, or TCE, by Tallahassee’s water quality

monitoring program prompted the city to partner with Leon County in 1992 go develop a

regional Aquifer/Wellhead Protection Ordinance and Aquifer Protection Program. The

partnership used the Wellhead Protection Program already implemented under the Safe

Drinking Water Act as a template for the development of the new, more innovative and

expansive aquifer regulation. A high degree of cooperation between federal, state, and

local authorities characterize the creation of Leon County’s ordinance. EPA funded

research studies necessary for the development of the regulation and a local chapter of

the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) conducted a pilot project to inventory

potential contaminant sources. The developers of the ordinance made a great deal of

effort to include citizen and nonprofit organizations input through town meetings.cxxxi


       In Pekin, Illinois, the state EPA approached the City of Pekin because of its

shallow wells and their special vulnerability to contamination. The local geology and soil

type of Pekin prompted the city and state to jointly develop an ordinance that plays a
significant role in land use decisions. The ordinance creates a Ground Water Protection

Area/Zone, lists prohibited uses, specifies the permit process, establishes setbacks, and

contains many other guidelines regarding groundwater protection.cxxxii Public education

and a cooperative partnership with the business community allows Pekin’s ordinance to

be effective and exemplary in its innovative implementation of government



        In Springfield, Missouri, the incidence of taste and order problems with the

drinking water initially prompted an investigation into possible regulation inside the

watershed. The mayor encouraged the establishment of a task force to address the

public concern regarding development in the watershed and recommend possible

management solutions. In 1989, the task force incorporated as a nonprofit organization

called the Watershed Committee of the Ozarks (WCO). The WCO was the driving force

behind Springfield’s wellhead protection program and developed a variety of programs

aimed at protecting the sources of drinking water for Springfield.


        The Pioneer Valley Planning Commission and officials from the Massachusetts

towns of Easthampton, Holyoke, Southampton, and Westfield met and established the

Barnes Aquifer Protection Advisory Committee (BAPAC) in 1989. BAPAC has the

authority to develop and implement a regional aquifer protection strategy. Public

education and outreach is an integral part of BAPAC’s strategy for regional aquifer

protection and the committee actively seeks out and educates users of the watershed
whose actions could impact the aquifer. The committee uses a traveling display, posters,

and best management manuals to relay the particulars of aquifer protection. In addition

to working with established businesses and users of the aquifer, the committee works

with local schools to promote awareness through Drinking Water Week. BAPAC also

drafted a model Aquifer Protection Bylaw based on recommendation by the

Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, which communities can use to

establish their own aquifer protection districts, permitting process, prohibited uses, and

performance standards. The committee also conducts water quality studies to establish

a baseline from which to evaluate protection efforts. The degree and scope of public

education and active outreach that BAPAC provides, in addition to the model aquifer

protection bylaw it makes available, render BAPAC an innovative change agent in the

realm of local aquifer regulation.cxxxiv


        In the late 1980s, TCE was found in local wells in Missoula County, Montana, as

a result of contamination from dry cleaners in the area. In an effort to protect the area’s

drinking water from further harm, the local water company and the City of Missoula got

the U.S. EPA to designate the Missoula Valley Aquifer as a Sole Source Aquifer in 1988.

In 1991, after local governments lobbied for more control over their water resources, the

state legislature passed legislation authorizing local governments to create local water

quality districts (WQDs). Missoula County created the Missoula Valley WQD in 1993.

WQDs in Montana do not have land use legislative authorities, however, so in 1995 the

District worked with the City of Missoula to pass the “Missoula Valley Water Quality

Ordinance” as a health ordinance. The Missoula WQD provided funding and staff

support, which were critical in adopting the ordinance. Substantial effort was also made
to involve the regulatory community in discussions about the ordinance. Support from

the local water company helped increase support from the general public as did

presenting the law as promoting local control over local resources. The University of

Montana, an advocacy group called the Clark Fork Coalition, and supportive elected

officials, including the mayor and key city council members, were also instrumental in the

ordinance’s adoption.


       The discovery of TCE in the town of Merrimack, New Hampshire’s groundwater

served as the catalyst for the superintendent of the town to initiate the Source Water

Protection Program. The superintendent assembled a Wellhead Protection committee to

develop and implement the Source Water Protection Program. Skepticism about

generating a Capital Reserve Fund through surcharges on water rates ran deep among

some members of the Wellhead Protection Committee. Although a pollution crisis

initiated the Source Water Protection Program, only a persistent media campaign

consisting of public service announcements, public meetings, and press releases

resulted in the passage of the ordinance.cxxxv


       The state of Ohio requires municipalities to have a wellhead protection plan

before they site wells. Although the state does not require municipalities to adopt

ordinances, the City of Fairfield passed a wellhead protection ordinance in 1998 in

conjunction with one other city and two townships, all members of the Hamilton to New

Baltimore Groundwater Consortium, in an effort to strengthen the state wellhead
standards. The Consortium was established in the late 1960s in order to coordinate

actions and promote dialogue on water issues between the member communities.

Members of the consortium formed a wellhead protection committee, which included

individuals from development departments, city councils, developers, property owners,

and business owners. This committee developed a model ordinance that was then taken

back to the individual communities where revisions were made depending on the

public’s reaction and level of support. Outside consultants and universities, including

Miami University of Ohio, contributed various expertise to the process. The ordinance

developed by the Consortium was also modeled after an ordinance adopted in Dayton

following a fire at a paint factory there. Consortium staff was important in getting the

ordinance passed and its Wellhead Protection Coordinator is involved in helping other

towns in the area develop their own wellhead protection laws.


       Springfield, Oregon, created a “Drinking Water Protection Overlay District” in

2000 in accordance with its 1999 Drinking Water Protection Plan. The impetus for the

law came from the Safe Drinking Water Act and requirements in the State of Oregon for

mandatory groundwater protection by communities of 10,000 or more people, which

include Springfield. The city designated a work task of developing wellhead protection

measures in its 5-year plan. This task was carried out in part by a citizen task force.

These efforts resulted in the adoption of the city’s wellhead plan and ordinance. The

citizen task force included representatives from the residential, commercial, agricultural

and industrial communities. Other individuals and agencies involved in developing and

adopting the city’s plan and ordinance included city staff and officials and members of

the Springfield Utility Board and Rainbow Water District. The Oregon Departments of
Health, Environmental Quality, and Agriculture also provided the city with technical

assistance. Non-profit contributors to the city’s groundwater protection efforts included

the McKenzie River Trust and the Groundwater Guardian.


       Water supplies in Brookings County and surrounding areas are almost entirely

dependent on the Big Sioux Aquifer, which is a shallow surficial aquifer that is vulnerable

to contamination. In the late 1980s, the U.S. EPA began to push wellhead protection,

and a Brookings County commission in conjunction with the East Dakota Water

Development District, a regional planning body, decided to develop an aquifer protection

ordinance to safeguard the area’s drinking water. Brookings County passed its “Aquifer

Protection Overlay District” in 1988, at which time the East Dakota Water Development

District decided to try to extend similar aquifer protections throughout its regional area;

eventually, all nine counties and two municipalities in the District adopted ordinances

similar to Brookings County. The ordinances passed in Brookings County and the

surrounding areas were the result of a small group of individuals and agencies. Staff

members at the South Dakota Geological Survey were instrumental in providing

technical expertise and geological maps of the area. The regional EPA office in Denver

also contributed its expertise. The manager and staff at the District and a few city and

county commissioners were instrumental in passing the ordinances. These individuals

provided foresight, which led to restrictions and prohibitions on concentrated animal

feeding operations, which have since harmed water resources in areas outside of the

District. Although the Brookings ordinance was passed before any serious widespread

contamination had occurred in its aquifer, concern over high nitrates and some
pollutants in a few private wells helped raise awareness. A drought during the late 1980s

also helped bring aquifer issues forward to the public.


       Protection of the Edwards Aquifer began as early as the 1970s. In 1975, San

Antonio added the “Edwards Recharge Overlay Zone” to its zoning code. In the late

1980s, there was interest from the city and the public in implementing additional

measures to protect the water quality of the aquifer. A city council committee issued a

report detailing pollution prevention measures that the city should take. Additional

studies continued into the early 1990s, and in 1994 the city passed directed and

authorized the San Antonio Water System to take a variety of measure to protect the

city’s water quality. The city also created a Water Quality Task Force, which developed

an “Aquifer Water Quality Ordinance,” that was adopted in 1995. Citizens and members

of the development community were involved in the process of adopting the ordinance.

Aquifer Guardians in Urban Areas and Northside Neighborhoods for Organized

Development were two citizen groups involved in passing the ordinance. In addition to

citizen groups, the San Antonio Water System, mayors and city council members,

developer associations and the general business community, the Edwards Underground

Water District, and state government agencies were instrumental in passing this

ordinance and/or other aquifer protection measures previously adopted by the city.


       The State of Utah requires municipalities to develop a groundwater management

plan, although individual communities have flexibility in developing this plan. In the mid
1990s, Salt Lake City and other communities in Salt Lake County formed coalition to do

groundwater modeling and to develop a model ordinance that would satisfy the state

requirement. The actions of this coalition helped increase public awareness of the

aquifer and the most of the communities adopted the model ordinance. Salt Lake City

adopted the ordinance in 1997, but added additional protection measures to better

ensure the safety of its water supplies. The coalition used outside consultants to help

model the aquifer. The Salt Lake Valley Health Department and the Utah Department of

Environmental Quality also contributed support to these efforts. The ordinance received

a lot of public support and support from the city council.


       Spokane County is located in a semi-desert area and gets its drinking water from

the Spokane-Rathdrum Aquifer. Public interest in the aquifer began in the 1970s, which

led to interest in having the aquifer designated as a sole source aquifer. The USGS

performed studies on the area’s hydrology and the Spokane-Rathdrum Aquifer became

one of the first sole source aquifers designated by the U.S. EPA. The Spokane County

commissioners created an “Aquifer Protection Area” in the mid-1980s permitting the

collection of fees through the “Aquifer Fees” provision of the county code. This ordinance

received strong public support. The county later passed an “Aquifer Sensitive Areas”

ordinance (now replaced by the “Critical Aquifer Recharge Areas” in response to

Washington’s Growth Management Act). Two municipalities within the county, the City of

Spokane and the Town of Milwood, have also passed these ordinances. Public

understanding of the aquifer resource, combined with outside government support, was

an important factor in passing these ordinances.

       (Although we contacted and communicated with representatives from the City of

Tacoma and Tacoma-Pierce County, we were unable to receive information on the

adoption of the “South Takoma Groundwater Protection District” in time for this report.)


       The City of Tumwater has three interrelated aquifer protection ordinances that

have arisen out of different needs and efforts. The “Aquifer Protection Standards” and

the “Aquifer Protection Overlay District” were both passed in 1991. These ordinances

were designed to satisfy the provisions of the State of Washington’s Growth

Management Act, which requires local protection of various natural resources, including

aquifers. The third ordinance focuses on wellhead protection and was passed in 1998 to

protect the city’s wells from contamination. These ordinances were primarily the result of

state legislation and initiatives of members of the city council. Although discovery of

contamination contributed to adoption of aquifer protection measures, public involvement

was relatively low.


       In the Village of Weston, Wisconsin, the government now mandates the

protection offered by the wellhead districts. However, the foresight of local planners in

the Village government prompted more rigorous protection of drinking water before the

government established the newer standards. Members of the local government felt that

scientific data are the most useful in the establishment of wellhead protection districts

and that the districts are necessary in order to meet the responsibility of a safe water
supply. The interviews did not establish a single person responsible for the development

of the ordinance. Instead a general awareness among local decision makers about the

importance of wellhead protection to the Village’s health supported the ordinance’s



        The City of Laramie gets the majority of its water from the Casper Formation

aquifer. Laramie passed its Aquifer Protection Overlay Zone in 2002 in an effort to

prevent a Walmart, which was located on the edge of the town, from building a gas

station within the aquifer recharge area. The City of Laramie and Albany County formed

an Environmental Advisory Committee to develop an aquifer protection plan and drafting

the ordinance. The city and county adopted nearly identical ordinances. Research on the

aquifer was instrumental in developing the ordinance. In addition to studies conducted

by the Advisory Committee, the University of Wyoming at Laramie provided a resource

of graduate students who had researched various aspects of the aquifer during their

studies. The University of Nebraska also contributed by developing a physical model of

the aquifer, which could be used for demonstration purposes. The city consulted with

various hydrologists, geologists, and engineers. There are many private wells in the area

and the public largely understood the issue and was supportive of the ordinance. The

city and county are currently working with the Wyoming Department of Environmental

Quality to get its aquifer protection plan approved, which would afford additional

protection to the area (Laramie’s plan would be the first one approved by state).
                                RESEARCH METHODS

       Various methods of searching resulted in the discovery of the ordinances

contained in this report. Initially, the research team conducted broad internet searches

using conventional search engines and key words such as “aquifer regulation” or

“wellhead protection regulation.” Traditional sources of environmental information such

as the Environmental Protection Agency website also provided valuable examples of

model aquifer protection regulations and key contact information. The research team

also consulted nonprofit organizations and universities involved with aquifer and

groundwater protection, websites dedicated to local ordinance archiving, and personal

contacts who might have further leads. Additionally, the research team investigated

specific regions that lie within known sensitive or sole source aquifers, as identified

through the U.S. Geological Survey website. One method of contact was a mass email

detailing the project goals and requesting information and contacts. Telephone calls

directly to town halls and county offices also yielded results.

       In order to identity change agents, the research team conducted telephone

interviews with individuals who could speak knowledgably about the ordinances.

Selected on the basis of available contact information, the interviewees ranged from

members of planning commissions to the heads of the local water authorities. A few

individuals responded to the emails and provided information about the history of the

ordinance electronically. The combination of electronic and telephone conversation

makes up the interview data collected. The research team identified change agents from

a review of data collected through interviews and on-line evaluations of regulations. Only

a few individuals contacted via telephone mailed any additional information hardcopy.
Telephone contact seemed to work best at retrieving information valuable in identifying

change agents and email seemed to play an auxiliary role of providing additional

contacts and leads. Municipality and code archive websites provided the majority of

downloadable ordinances, and a few municipalities had their ordinances online. Three

municipalities mailed their ordinance in hardcopy form and most ordinances have online

downloadable versions. A few ordinances that were not available online were emailed.

                                  FINAL THOUGHTS

       After completing the project, a few areas for improvement immediately came to

light. The research methods should perhaps be more systematic and thorough in order

to provide a more representative sample of laws from the nation. Internet searches and

emails to organizations and towns might leave out towns without the resources to create

an online interface. Leaving towns out who lack of money and personnel but are

nevertheless innovative aquifer regulators is perhaps a disservice to the online library.

Additionally, because a few towns said they would send us ordinances and we never

received anything, the project provided a lesson in the difficulty of conducting research n


       Future studies might also address the scale and scope of the project before

embarking on research. One requisite task of this project was to gather a list of

innovative ordinances that represents the major geographic regions of the country.

However, research should focus on one region of the country at a time to increase the

depth of analysis per ordinance, or perhaps the total number of laws initially sought

should be reduced. Perhaps the nature of this project is ongoing and incremental, rather

than a step function dedicated to rapidly bringing the valuable online library together.
Perhaps future studies could simply research for a longer period of time in order to allow

a greater depth into the huge wealth of information gathered.

       The project also served to differentiate between effectiveness and the level of

innovation of an ordinance. Numerous ordinances appeared innovative in some aspect

or another on paper, however, upon further investigation were not as exemplary as their

description led to believe. Often local politics or lack of resources prevented innovative

ordinances from reaching their full protective potential.

       The project as a whole provides a lesson in democracy. The immense amount of

variation of expression of needs and desires of the people across the country is inspiring

and important to realize as an environmental professional. Government can often force

one-size regulations onto states, taking for granted the mixture of ideas necessary to

create useful, effective, and socially acceptable regulations. Local aquifer regulation,

although highly specific and tailored, speaks great deals about the diversity of

environments and people in the nation. Town halls and local planning boards often are

responsible for shaping regulations that govern our everyday lives. This study serves to

highlight the significant role local land use decisions play in the protection of our health,

economy, and environment.

                             INDIVIDUALS CONTACTED


Tammy Crone
Water Quality Specialist
Gallatin Local Water Quality District
Bozeman, Montana

Rachael Herpel
Community Programs Director
The Groundwater Foundation
Lincoln, Nebraska

Scott Snell
Public Relations Specialist
Upper Big Blue Natural Resource District
York, Nebraska

Martin Steinpress
Chief Hydrologist
Groundwater Resources Association of California/Brown and Caldwell
Walnut Creek, California

Harold Wanless
University of Miami
Department of Geological Science
Coral Gables, Florida


Tallahassee, Florida
Koren Taylor, P.G.
Aquifer Protection Coordinator

Pekin, Illinois
Dennis Kief
Pekin Public Works Director

Hatfield, Massachusetts
Anne Capra
Barnes Aquifer Protection Advisory Committee Facilitator
Pioneer Valle Planning Commission

Springfield, Missouri
Loring Bullard
Watershed Committee of the Ozarks

Missoula, Montana
Missoula Valley Water Quality District

Merrimack, New Hampshire
Jill Vacchiano
Wellhead Protection
Merrimack Village District Water Works

Walpole, New Hampshire
Ernest Vose
Walpole Zoning Board

Dayton, Ohio
Lee Drummond
Well Protection Program Coordinator

Fairfield, Ohio
Tim McClelland
Wellfield Protection Coordinator
Hamilton to New Baltimore Groundwater Consortium

Springfield, Oregon
Nancy Moreno
Water Quality Program Coordinator
Springfield Utility Board

Brookings County, South Dakota
Jay Gilbertson
East Dakota Water Development District

San Antonio, Texas
Julia Mireles
San Antonio Water System
Salt Lake City, Utah
Florence Reynolds
Water Quality Administrator
Department of Public Utilities

Stanley, Virginia
Terry Pettit
Town Superintendent
540-778-3454, ext. 24

Spokane County, Washington
Reanette Boese
Division of Utilities

Tacoma, Washington
Lindsay Spencer
Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department

Tumwater, Washington
Mike Matlock
Planning and Facilities Department

Weston, Wisconsin
550 Schofield Avenue
Weston, Wisconsin 54476

Laramie, Wyoming
Jonathan High
Water Outreach Coordinator
City of Laramie


     Spokane County, Washington Code, Title 11, Chapter 11.16
     Id. §11.16.020
     Id. §11.16.020
     Id. §11.16.030
    Hernando County, Florida Code, Chapter 28, Article VII
     Leon County, Florida Code, Chapter 10, Article XIV
      Hatfield, Massachusetts Code, Section 3.7
       Merrimack, New Hampshire Code, Chapter 2.01.9
     Walpole, New Hampshire Code, “Town Well Source Protection Ordinance”
    Fairfield, Ohio Code, Chapter 1192
     Brookings County, South Dakota Code, Section 1106
      Id. “Purpose”
       Id. “Zone A – Aquifer Critical Impact Zone”
       Id. “Zone B – Aquifer Secondary Impact Zones”
      Id, “Prohibited Uses in Zone A”
       Id. “Permitted Uses in Zone B”
        Id. “Prohibited Uses in Zone B”
         Id. “Performance Standards”
       Salt Lake City, Utah Code, Chapter 21A.34.060
      Id. §B
       Id. §D
        Id. §E.1, Appendix B
         Id. §G
         Id. §E.2
        Id. §F.1
         Id. §F.2
          Id. §I
           Tumwater, Washington Code, Chapter 16.24
         Id. §16.24.020
        Id. §16.24.040
         Id. §16.24.050
          Id. §16.24.050.D
           Tumwater, Washington Code, Chapter 18.39
           Id. §18.39.010
          Id. §18.39.040
           Tumwater, Washington Code, Chapter 16.26
            Id. §16.26.010
             Id. §16.26.030
           Id. §16.26.040
     Id. §16.26.050
      Id. §16.26.055
      Weston, Wisconsin Code, Section 94.198
        Laramie, Wyoming, Aquifer Protection Overlay Zone, Ordinance No. 1608
        Id. §1
       Id. §2
        Id. §3
         Id. §4
          Id. §6
        Id. §7
   Id. §7.C
    Riverside County, California, Ordinance No. 682.3
     Id. §1
      Id. §3.A
      Id. §9
     Id. §3.D
      Id. §3.E.
       Id. §10
        Id. §12
     Id. §13
    Id. §19
     Id. §22
      Springfield, Missouri Code, Chapter 58, Article IX
        Pekin, Illinois, “Groundwater Protection Ordinance”
        Limington, Maine Code, Article VIII, Section 9
       Missoula, Montana Code, Chapter 13.26
        Id. §13.26.010
         Id. §13.26.040
        Id. §13.26.050.B
      Id. §13.26.050
        Id. §13.26.070
         Id. §13.26.090
          Id. §1326.100.E.1
          Id. §13.26.110.A
         Id. §13.26.120.A
          Springfield, Oregon, Drinking Water Protection (DWP) Overlay District, Ordinance No. 5962
           Id. §17.020
          Id. §17.040
         Id. §17.070
            Id. §17.080
            San Antonio, Texas Code, Chapter 34, Article VI, Division 6
           Id. §34-901
            Id. §34-910
             Id. §34-911
              Id. §34-912
            Id. §34-913
     Id. §34-920
       Id. §34-925
        Id. §34-970
         Id. §34-909.B.a.1
         Id. §34-909.B.d
        Id. §34-909.B.f
         Id. §34-980.a.i
          Tacoma, Washington Code, Chapter 13.09
           Id. §13.09.010
         Id. §13.09.030
   Id. §13.09.060
    Id. §13.09.070
     Id. §13.09.090
       Id. §13.09.100
       Id. §13.09.110
      Id. §13.09.120
       Id. §13.09.140
        San Antonio Water System, “About the Edwards Aquifer,”
our_water/aquifer/aboutaquifer.shtml (Accessed on 29 April 2004)
         San Antonio Water System, “Why Conserve?” (Accessed on 29 April 2004)
       San Antonio Water System, “SAWS History and Chronology: 1970,” (Accessed on 29 April 2004)
    San Antonio Water System, “Outline: Aquifer Protection Ordinance #81491,”
(Accessed on 29 April 2004)
     San Antonio, Texas Code, Chapter 34, Article VI, Division 6, §34-901.
      Id. §34-901
       Id. §34-907
       Id. §34-902
      Id. §34-903
       Id. §34-909.B.a
        Id. §34-909.B.d
         Id. §34-909.B.e
       Id. §34-910
      Id. §34-911
       Id. §34-912
        Id. §34-912.c.2
         Id. §34-913
         Id. §34-920
        Id. §34-925
         Id. §34-926
           Id. §34-965
         Id. §34-980.a.i
        Id. §34-980.a.v
         U.S. EPA, “Tallahassee, Florida,” (Accessed 30 April 2004)
          U.S. EPA, “Pekin, Illinois,”
(Accessed 30 April 2004)
           Dennis Kief (personal communication)
           U.S. EPA, “Barnes Aquifer, Massachusetts,” (Accessed 30 April 2004)
          U.S. EPA, “Merrimack, New Hampshire,” (Accessed 30 April 2004)
          Weix (personal communication)

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