Groundwater protection in Oregon occurs at the federal, state and local
level through various agencies. Oregon administers many groundwater-related
Federal programs including the Clean Water Act; Safe Drinking Water Act;
Resource Conservation and Recovery Act; Comprehensive Environmental Response,
Compensation, and Liability Act; and Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act.
In addition to these federal laws, Oregon has its own laws and
regulations relating to groundwater protection. Similarly, local
governments may regulate groundwater through local ordinances in
addition to assisting state and federal agencies in enforcing
groundwater regulations. Groundwater protection can also occur through
non-regulatory means such as education, voluntary programs, and local
Protection Agency (EPA)
Federal Water Pollution Control Act (Clean Water Act)
- Enacted in 1948, amended in 1972 and 1987.
- Before 1987, most attention was given to surface water
- 1987 amendment placed more emphasis on groundwater
- Provided for the regulation and permitting of discharges
of pollutants into the waters of the United States.
- Provided the authority to implement wastewater standards
for industry and water quality standards for contaminants in
- 1987 amendments authorized the State Water Pollution
Control Revolving Fund, more commonly known as the
Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF).
Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA)
- Enacted in 1974, amended in 1986.
- Authorizes EPA to develop regulations, set national
drinking water quality standards, and develop programs to
protect public water supplies.
- Authorizes the regulation of Underground Injection
Control wells, development and oversight of the Source Water
Protection program (including Wellhead Protection), and
designation of Sole Source Aquifers.
The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)
- Enacted in 1976, amended in 1984.
- Regulates the handling, transport and disposal of solid
and hazardous wastes, and underground storage tanks.
- Defines solid and hazardous wastes; authorizes the
setting of standards for hazardous waste facilities.
Established a permit program for solid and hazardous waste
- Focuses on active and future facilities; does not
address abandoned or historical sites.
- Subtitle C covers the regulation of
- Subtitle D regulates municipal solid waste landfills and
all other nonhazardous wastes not covered in Subtitle C
(such as sewage sludge and surface impoundments).
Subtitle I regulates underground storage tanks and provides
for response to leaking tanks.
The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and
Liability Act (CERCLA or Superfund)
- Enacted in 1980
- The Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA)
amended CERCLA in 1986.
- CERCLA created a tax on the chemical and petroleum
industries and provided broad Federal authority to respond
directly to releases or threatened releases of hazardous
substances that pose threats to public health or the
The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA)
- Enacted in 1947, amended in 1972, 1988, and 1996
- Authorizes EPA to control the sale, distribution and use
- Does not specifically mention groundwater, but it does
require that pesticides be tested for effectiveness and
toxicity, be registered, and be labeled for appropriate use.
- Applicators of restricted-use pesticides are required to
be "certified" through a training and testing program.
- Contains provisions allowing control of the
transportation and disposal of pesticides.
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
- Has agricultural programs which include prevention of
- USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in
partnership with local Conservation Districts are involved
in many groundwater protection activities including:
- Providing technical assistance and educational
materials related to State Pesticide Management Plans.
- Providing site information, evaluation, technical
specifications and planning assistance for Best
Management Practices (BMPs) for agricultural activities.
- NRCS has developed county-based soil surveys that
rank soil for groundwater contamination vulnerability.
Geological Survey (USGS)
- Nation's largest earth science research and information
agency that provides geologic, topographic and hydrologic
information including maps, databases, and descriptions of
the earth's resources.
- Groundwater research is concerned primarily with the
characterization of groundwater quantity and groundwater
- Disseminates information on groundwater aquifers, water
availability and use, potential sources of groundwater
contamination and other related topics.