Develop Management Approach
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After inventorying the potential sources
within the delineated wellhead protection area, you are ready to address those potential
risks to your water supply. The primary goal of the management phase of Oregon's Wellhead
Protection Program is to reduce the risk of groundwater contamination from potential
contaminant sources. It is highly improbable that you can eliminate all risks in the WHPA,
but by applying one or more management tools where you determine it is appropriate, you
will be able to reduce the likelihood of groundwater contamination impacting your water
supply in the future.
One of the key underlying philosophies used in developing this program
and guidance manual has been that one of the most effective ways to achieve resource
protection will be by developing public/private partnerships. It is recognized that a
stronger regulatory or "command-and-control" approach is not necessary to
achieve protection of your water system. Although some of the proposed management tools in
this section refer to existing regulatory programs, it is the advisory committee's and
state agency's opinions that groundwater protection within the wellhead protection areas
can best be accomplished by the RMAs developing partnerships with local business,
industry, and the agricultural community and focusing on educational/training and
pollution prevention concepts.
In Step 4 (Section 3-4), a "source" was defined as a location
where there is any activity having the potential to release one or more contaminants into
groundwater at a concentration of concern. Any source within your wellhead protection area
can be assumed to pose a risk of contamination and possible loss of your water supply. Due
to limited resources both at the state and local levels, however, it may be necessary to
focus your efforts only on the sources which pose the most significant risks.
The first step in developing your management plan will be to screen out
those sources which pose little to no risk to groundwater. Next you will consider the
site-specific natural characteristics in your wellhead protection area in an attempt to
further reduce the number of sources that need to be addressed. In this process, you will
screen out any zones that have an inherently low susceptibility to contamination.
This section will also provide a resource list of general management
tools that can be used for the entire wellhead protection area, then specific tools for
each land use category or type of potential source(s).
Groundwater Protection Basics:
Since groundwater can be affected by a wide variety of human activities
and sources, a comprehensive groundwater protection program incorporates many different
components. We can generally categorize the various components of a groundwater protection
program into three areas:
1. Pollution prevention/best management practices (BMPs).
2. Regulatory permitting/project review.
3. Land use controls or restrictions.
The first (and perhaps most important) general category of groundwater
protection program elements includes pollution prevention or best management practices.
Pollution prevention is the use of materials, processes, or practices that reduce or
eliminate the creation of pollutants or wastes at the source. It includes practices that
reduce the use of hazardous and nonhazardous materials, energy, water, or other resources
as well as those that protect natural resources through conservation or more efficient
use. The Federal Pollution Prevention Act of 1990 established pollution prevention
as a "national objective", recognizing that there are significant opportunities
for industries (in particular) to reduce or prevent pollution at the source through
cost-effective changes in production, operation, and raw materials use. For example, basic
pollution prevention concepts are applied in implementing the Oregon Toxics Use Reduction
and Hazardous Waste Reduction Program, which has been in effect since 1989. As will be
discussed in more detail later in this section, there are extensive resources available
for local governments to use in encouraging pollution prevention concepts to be applied
within wellhead protection areas.
Best management practices (BMPs) are typically actions developed for
specific operations associated with agriculture and industry that serve to reduce
hazardous material usage or risks of release. The term "BMP" is generally used
to describe operational practices, such as good housekeeping and spill prevention, or
source control practices, such as designing a storm water system that prevents contact
with pesticides or hazardous materials. Encouragement of implementation of BMPs through
free technical assistance or training may be one very effective tool for local governments
to use in reducing the risks of groundwater contamination in wellhead protection areas.
Efforts at the local level to recognize businesses that employ
environmentally sound practices and encourage consumers to support those businesses
contributes significantly to the success of this program (see subsection "Pollution
Although the wellhead protection program initiated under the federal Safe
Drinking Water Act (SDWA) was developed to be an active groundwater contamination
prevention program, most of the other existing groundwater-related mandates rely upon
responses to contamination events. One preventative approach that is incorporated into the
existing regulatory programs, however, is permitting or project review. The
regulatory permitting and project review approach is implemented through federal, state,
and local laws. Technical standards are generally used to establish and ensure compliance
with permitted discharges to air, soil, and water. Project reviews are conducted as part
of environmental impact evaluations required by federal laws and local planning
requirements. Permitting and project review can affect the siting, design, construction,
operation, and closure of facilities such as buildings, above and underground storage
tanks, treatment plants, landfills, and transportation corridors.
Groundwater protection accomplished through the regulatory approach
involves many federal and state agencies, laws, and rules. There are six primary federal
laws which are designed to help protect groundwater quality by setting standards or
permitting uses and activities. The Safe Drinking Water Act set maximum contaminant
levels in drinking water and established flexible protection programs. The Clean Water
Act (CWA) sets standards for allowable pollutant discharges to surface water or
groundwater. The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) regulates transport,
storage, treatment, and disposal of hazardous and solid wastes. The Comprehensive
Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA, or Superfund)
regulates cleanup of contamination from hazardous wastes. The Federal Insecticide,
Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) regulates pesticide use. The Toxic
Substances Control Act (TSCA) regulates manufactured chemicals. The federal
responsibility for implementing these groundwater-related laws rests primarily with the
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
At the state level, Oregon has a network of laws and rules which are
related to protection of groundwater quality. Four state agencies in Oregon administer the
majority of the groundwater-related statutes and rules - the Department of Environmental
Quality (DEQ), the Oregon Health Division (OHD), the Water Resources Division (WRD), and
the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA). DEQ has the responsibility of implementing Oregon's
1989 Groundwater Protection Act, which focuses on statewide prevention of groundwater
contamination, conservation of the resource, and maintaining its quality for present and
future beneficial uses. The Act specifically calls for DEQ to implement a wellhead
protection program. DEQ also administers regulations for the permitting, treatment,
handling, and disposal of wastewaters, hazardous wastes and solid wastes. In addition, DEQ
regulates underground storage tanks and injection wells.
OHD administers statutes and rules regulating the sources and quality of
drinking water supplies as required by the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. OHD
also conducts special studies in contaminated groundwater areas and provides public
information associated with the health effects of various contaminants in the drinking
water. WRD administers the statutes and rules governing well construction, usage,
abandonment, and groundwater appropriation.
WRD also conducts extensive water supply, water quality, or water use
investigations, issues permits, and takes administrative actions to prevent groundwater
The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA), under recent statutes, now
has the authority to develop and carry out Agricultural Water Quality Management Area
Plans for agricultural and rural lands where any type of water quality management plan is
required by state or federal law. Agricultural Water Quality Management Plans outline
comprehensive measures that will be taken to prevent and control water pollution from
agricultural activities and soil erosion on agricultural and rural lands located in a
management area. ODA determines which areas require such a plan and establishes management
area boundaries. ODA has the exclusive authority to regulate agricultural operations for
prevention and control of water pollution. In some cases, wellhead protection areas may
qualify as an area where such a plan will need to be developed. ODA also has the exclusive
authority to regulate all activities related to the use and sale of pesticides in Oregon.
A summary of both federal and state environmental mandates relating to
groundwater is included as Appendix D of this Guidance
Manual. These regulations provide the basis of our existing groundwater protection
One of the tools available to local government in managing potential
sources within the wellhead protection area is the review and/or inspection of regulated
(locally-permitted) facilities for adequacy and compliance with permit requirements. This
is an example of how existing regulations may be used to implement or improve a
groundwater contamination prevention program. Another tool may be to restrict or prohibit
specified products or activities within certain zones of the wellhead protection area.
This can best be accomplished through the permit review process or special permit
requirement. Permitting or project review can be a very effective tool for local
governments to use in any kind of groundwater protection program. To the maximum extent
possible, local governments should consider using existing statutes and regulations to
implement wellhead protection in Oregon.
NOTE: It is not DEQ's intention to change any permit
requirements or standards within wellhead protection areas in Oregon. Any local
jurisdiction, though, can use permit reviews or modifications in standards to achieve
their goal of protecting groundwater by establishing an ordinance.
With some exceptions, land use controls or restrictions can be
effective only to the extent that areas have not been developed. Nevertheless, for
undeveloped areas, land use controls can be extremely effective in reducing the risk of
groundwater contamination by restricting high-risk activities or limiting development
densities in sensitive areas. Various examples of land use controls include comprehensive
planning, land acquisition, and zoning overlays. Land use controls have been successfully
used in Oregon as part of the statewide planning goals on conservation of farm lands,
forest lands, natural resources, coastal resources, and policies on development.
Oregon's land use goals are implemented and enforced through local
comprehensive planning. State law requires each city and county to have a comprehensive
plan and implement zoning and land-development ordinances needed to put the plan into
effect. Local governments do the planning, and the State of Oregon, through the Department
of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD), reviews the proposed plans for consistency
with the statewide planning goals and "acknowledges" or approves the plan. Local
governments then administer the land-use regulations specified in their plan, including
permitting, variances, and conditional uses.
As part of Oregon's Statewide Planning Program, when a wellhead
protection area is delineated (and certified by OHD), it becomes a "Goal 5
Resource". DLCD has determined that Oregon's Wellhead Protection Program is an
acceptable and recommended method of addressing those groundwater resources. DLCD is
currently (as of May 1996) proposing revisions to OAR 660-23 that will specify that Goal 5
applies to those public water systems that have a service population greater than 10,000
or more than 3,000 service connections that choose to delineate, and then gain OHD's
certification of the delineation. Goal 5 will also apply to those WHPAs which are
delineated, certified, and are declared locally significant by the local government. A
local government may declare locally significant wellhead protection areas only within its
own jurisdiction. The wellhead protection program will be relied upon to address these
groundwater resources. A DEQ-certified Wellhead Protection Plan will automatically serve
to address any DLCD Goal 5 requirements.
For those communities that are developing a Wellhead Protection Plan to
address the Goal 5 requirements, the following three topics need to be written as policy
and included in your local government's comprehensive land use plan.
1. The factual base and/or background information relied upon in the
development of the local wellhead protection plan;
2. A general statement of need, "...to protect public health and
safety by minimizing contamination of the low/surficial aquifers...," and of the
enabling authorities; and
3. Clear statement(s) of intent. The local government should clearly
state the various choices that were made at each stage of the process of developing the
local Wellhead Protection Plan. The specific type of local program that is chosen by the
local government should also be stated in the policy. Such statements need to also specify
any future courses of action. These statements include, but are not limited to:
For further information, refer to statewide Planning Goal 1, Citizen
Involvement, Goal 2, Part 1, Planning, and local government's enabling authorities under
ORS Chapter 97 (for cities), and ORS Chapter 215 (for counties) or by contacting Doug
White or Diana Butts, DLCD in Salem (503-373-0083).
The methodology for accomplishing Step 5, development of the management
approach, can be summarized as follows:
A. Screen out any zones within the wellhead protection area that have a low susceptibility to contamination by:
B. Screen out those potential sources that pose low risks to the
C. Evaluate and consider choosing appropriate general management
tools for all potential sources within the wellhead protection area;
D. Consider choosing appropriate management tools specific to a
category or type of source within the wellhead protection area, such as:
A detailed description of each step is included below. It is not
necessary to do any screening if you do not want to reduce the number of potential sources
or the area to be addressed through this management plan. For example, screening may not
be necessary for wellhead protection areas that include only one or two types of land
uses. The screening for agricultural and rural lands will occur after their
"on-farm assessment" (see Agricultural/Rural Management Options below). Skip
the screening steps (A and B below) if you want to proceed to the selection of management
A. Screen out any zones that have a low susceptibility to
As has been discussed previously, any source within your wellhead
protection area can be assumed to pose a risk of contamination. The degree of that risk
not only depends on the types of and operating practices of sources, but also on the
susceptibility of the groundwater to contamination in any given area. An example of a very
high susceptibility in an aquifer is a shallow water table aquifer overlain by coarse
sands and gravels.
The easiest way to screen out any zones that may have a low
susceptibility to groundwater contamination is to use a pre-developed procedure to
determine the susceptibility. The Oregon Health Division (OHD) prepared a manual entitled
"Guidance Manual for Monitoring Reduction Through A Use and Susceptibility
Waiver", October 1992. The purpose of the document is to provide Oregon public water
systems with the procedures for conducting a vulnerability assessment with respect to the
synthetic organic chemical monitoring requirements as specified in the Phase II/V rule per
1986 Amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act. The document has been revised
(January 1996) and provides details of the required procedures for completing a use or
susceptibility determination. This document can be obtained by calling OHD's Drinking
Water Section at 503-731-4010.
If a susceptibility assessment is performed, a public water system may
be able to not only substantially reduce the size of the wellhead protection area needing
management, but also acquire a waiver from monitoring requirements for Phase II/V
There are also other acceptable ways to screen out zones within the
wellhead protection area based on aquifer susceptibility. A good discussion of the
important factors involved in such an assessment can be found in "DRASTIC: A
Standardized System for Evaluating Groundwater Pollution Potential Using Hydrogeologic
Settings" by Aller et al., April 1987. This document can be obtained by calling
800-553-6847 and asking for information on Document No. PB87-213-914. DRASTIC is an
example of a methodology which could be applied in a wellhead protection area to screen
out low-susceptibility areas. DRASTIC was developed to evaluate the pollution potential of
hydrogeological settings in the United States. It uses seven factors that combine with
weights and ratings to produce a numerical value for ranking. The numerical value is then
used to prioritize areas as to their groundwater contamination susceptibility.
B. Screen out potential sources with low risks:
Of the potential sources listed on your completed inventory form, only
the moderate and higher risk sources need to be addressed in the management plan. Notification
shall be provided to the owner/operators of low-risk potential sources that they are
located within the wellhead protection area, and the Notification should include any
Local and state resources can then be directed to more serious potential
problems in the wellhead protection areas, instead of addressing all risks.
There are many potential sources associated with Oregon business,
industry, and agriculture where best management practices (BMPs) are already being used.
In this context, we use the term "BMPs" to represent any waste reduction or
prevention activity. Much of this has been accomplished because of individual property
owners voluntarily seeking to incorporate these changes into their operations.
Incorporating BMPs into an operation is generally accomplished through process or design
changes, operational changes such as preventative maintenance, and employee training. The
objectives (and subsequent benefits) of incorporating BMPs into the "way of doing
business" can be summarized by the following:
1. Improved efficiency and organization,
2. Cost savings by reducing product usage or disposal amounts, and
3. Reduced liabilities associated with spills or releases to the
Because of these benefits, many Oregon businesses, industries, and
agricultural land owners have voluntarily incorporated BMPs into their operations.
BMP implementation in Oregon has also occurred as a result of the Toxic Use Reduction and Hazardous Waste Reduction (TURHWR) law requirements, technical assistance offered by DEQ's Toxics Use Reduction staff, DEQ's Pollution Prevention Program, and agricultural-related non-point-source programs, such as those coordinated by Oregon Department of Agriculture and the OSU Extension Service. The TURHWR law requires all businesses which use toxic materials to develop formal plans for reducing or eliminating the use of toxic substances and the generation of hazardous wastes. More information about this program can be obtained from DEQ by calling 503-229-5913 or 1-800-452-4011 and obtaining a TURHWR "Planning Guide" (DEQ, 1993). More information about the TUR technical assistance, the DEQ Pollution Prevention Program, and agricultural BMPs will be provided in the Commercial/Industrial and Agricultural/Rural subsections below.
Any potential sources where BMPs for groundwater protection have been
incorporated will not generally need any additional management attention. Your Team will
need to check with the individual business owners and agricultural operators to determine
if they are using established BMPs.
There are also Oregon businesses and agricultural operators that have
never used, or have eliminated the use of, any potential contaminants in their operations.
Your local Team will need to reliably document that there is no potential for groundwater
contamination from facilities which do not use the potential contaminating substances; use
Table 1-1 (Section 1.1) as a guideline. Since all facilities
are required to have Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) records, a review of the MSDS
records will indicate whether a facility uses any of these chemicals. These sources can be
screened out as well, with no follow-up management effort needed in this program.
One additional way individual sources can be screened out is by
verifying that there are adequate monitoring or detection measures in place to identify
any groundwater contamination originating from a facility within the wellhead protection
area. An example of this situation is where as a condition for an existing permit, a
facility was required to install a network of monitoring wells upgradient and downgradient
from their site, such as a solid waste landfill or an ongoing cleanup process at a
facility. Recognize that monitoring wells are not a substitute for employing best
management practices for any potential source. DEQ can assist in determining whether the
monitoring program is considered adequate. If your Team verifies the active and adequate
monitoring of the groundwater immediately downgradient of any potential source, you can
screen out these sources as they most likely need no further management attention at the
C. Evaluate and consider choosing appropriate general management
tools for all potential sources within the wellhead protection area.
After screening out any low-risk potential sources and
low-susceptibility zones within your wellhead protection area, your Team is ready to
consider and select the management options for the various sources and land uses. We will
begin with general management options that may be used for the entire area to be
Examples of General Management Options
Brief descriptions of each can be found in Table 3-4, along with phone numbers and references for more information.
Table 3-4: General Management Tools Available for the Wellhead Protection Area
"Oregon Wellhead Protection's TOP DOZEN List"
|1. Public Education/Notification:
It is highly recommended that
every Team consider implementing this option within the wellhead protection area. Every
effort should be made to contact all property owners within the wellhead protection area
so they are aware of the need for protection measures. Consider coordinating one or more
"Community Groundwater Protection Workshops" where information is available and
presentations are made to inform local residents of the connection between drinking water
quality and activities on the land surface. DEQ and OHD can provide technical assistance
or presentations at any workshop you wish to host. You may want to work with your local
newspaper to reach others in a public education effort with public service ads, maps, and
data. The DEQ Wellhead Protection Program (503-229-5279) can provide literature for
distribution, as well as some excellent examples of ads and brochures.
FOCUS for educational effort:
Basic information about groundwater and the relationship between surface activities and groundwater quality.
Familiarity with the location of the protected area.
Basic information on sources of contamination.
Effective strategies for safe management of all potentail contaminants.
|2. Sign Installation:
Information signs should be placed adjacent to all roadways entering the wellhead protection area. The signs should include the name of the water system or jurisdiction along with a phone number where callers can obtain more information. Example sign:
Be Careful With Our Drinking Water!
You are entering
Anytown Groundwater Protection Area
for more information.
(Call 911 to report any spills.)
|3. Water Conservation Program:
Implementing water conservation measures in your community can significantly benefit wellhead protection efforts by reducing the pumping rates. Lower pumping rates mean reduced flow rates and less risk of moving any contamination. Conserving water may also help reduce the need for additional water sources in the near future. Water conservation can be accomplished through steps such as distribution of flow control devices, retrofitting high-flow toilets and washing machines, and recycling wastewater. Information on developing a water conservation program can be obtained from the Municipal Water Conservation Specialists at the Oregon Water Resources Department, 503-378-8455, Ext. 283.
|4. Public/Private Partnerships:
It is highly recommended that the RMA (or public jurisdictions) seek partnerships with the private business, commercial, and industrial communities within the wellhead protection area. These public/private partnerships can involve setting up a process for collaboration and finding common goals, such as maintaining low cost clean drinking water, encouraging best management practice applications, and continued economic prosperity in the region. Mutual benefits may include maximizing pollution prevention implementation in the community, public recognition of "green businesses", etc.
|5. Hazardous Waste Collection:
Establishing a permanent location or holding one-day events to collect hazardous wastes from community residents (both small businesses and households) is a very effective way to reduce risks posed by storing hazardous wastes within the wellhead protection area. This would be a very important element of a local plan addressing any areas with septic tanks as it would potentially reduce the amount of household hazardous wastes dumped into the drains and toilets. More information can be obtained from DEQ's Waste Management and Cleanup Division at 503-229-5913; ask for assistance with household hazardous waste collection. (More information on Household Hazardous Waste will be provided in the Residential/Municipal management section below as well.)
|6. Spill Response Plans:
In addition to addressing spill response procedures as part of the contingency plan (Step 6 - Section 3-6), jurisdictions within wellhead protection areas could develop specific spill response procedures to allow quicker response and notifications should a hazardous material spill or release occur within the wellhead protection area. These can be integrated into your county's Emergency Management Plan. Emergency Management Plans are required for Oregon counties, but are optional for cities. The Oregon Emergency Management (OEM) staff can help with the development of spill response plans, can help you locate your county's coordinator, and let you know if your county has an existing approved emergency plan. OEM can be reached at 503-378-2911 in Salem.
|7. Zoning/Health Ordinances:
There are many different types of zoning tools. Your community can identify the wellhead protection area with an overlay map, then potentially use a special permitting requirement to monitor new building applicants and some chemical uses. Alternatively, your Team may want to develop a public health ordinance that minimizes the risk of contaminating the public water supply. Appendix E of this document contains a sample ordinance from a small community using an overlay approach to create a wellhead protection district. EPA also compiled an extensive set of sample ordinances from communities across the country. Information about the "Wellhead Protection Compendium of Ordinances" can be obtained by contacting DLCD at 503-373-0050 in Salem.
|8. Groundwater Monitoring Program:
Collecting data from existing monitoring/supply wells or from newly installed wells can help your community detect any contaminants that may threaten the water supply in the near future. This is especially useful downgradient of the higher-risk sources in the wellhead protection area. Use the resources listed in Appendix B of this document to help you locate any wells and active groundwater cleanup sites in the area. You will need to contact DEQ (503-229-5913) and WRD (503-378-8455) for this information.
|9. Property Purchase/Donation Program:
Community ownership of as much as possible of the land within the wellhead protection area obviously provides some of the best assurances of long-term protection of the public water supply. Protection could be provided by ownership accomplished through methods such as capital or bond fund programs, or through easements and deed restrictions. Acquisitions of land could also be coordinated through private non-profit land conservation organizations in Oregon such as River Network (503-241-3506), Nature Conservancy (503-228-9561), Trust for Public Land (503-228-6620) or local land trusts in your area. These organizations can assist you in acquiring land within your wellhead protection area by conveyance to a trust, seeking donations, or direct land purchases for conservation.
|10. Septic System Upgrades/Maintenance Program:
Septic systems are discussed in more detail in the Residential/Municipal subsection below. Septic systems are very common sources of nitrate contamination in groundwater. Many areas of Oregon already have nitrate contamination problems. If your wellhead protection area contains high-density areas (>1 septic system/acre) of septic, you may want to initiate an effort to upgrade these, or at least implement a voluntary or mandatory program for maintenance. For example, septic systems should be pumped out every 2-3 years for proper functioning. We would also highly recommend that you consider implementing a septic tank cleaner ban or prohibition within your wellhead protection area. Most septic system cleaners contain solvents which are extremely threatening to your groundwater quality. Any ban on these substances would need to have an educational component associated with it since it will likely be very difficult to enforce, so you'll need to count on voluntary compliance. Information on septic systems and maintenance can be obtained by calling DEQ's Water Quality Division at 503-229-5279.
|11. Special Chemical Use/Transport Prohibition:
Another general tool for your consideration may be a prohibition of the use or transport of high risk chemical compounds which produce severe groundwater contamination if released into the environment. Compounds called dense non-aqueous phase liquids (DNAPLS) are generally considered to cause irreversible groundwater contamination when they are released into groundwater. Examples of DNAPLS commonly used in Oregon include solvents such as trichloroethylene (TCE), tetrachloroethylene (PCE), 1,1,1-trichlorethane (TCA), vinyl chloride, chlorobenzene, and wood-preservatives such as pentachlorophenol (PCP). These compounds have already been detected in over 80 public water systems in Oregon. Control and/or treatment is typically very expensive for local jurisdictions to address. Your Team may want to consider a threshold amount for the prohibition (such as one gallon) or limiting the implementation of the prohibition to a certain distance from your supply well(s) (such as 2,000'). The DEQ Wellhead Protection Program staff (503-229-5279) can work with any local jurisdiction to assist in developing a site- specific chemical use prohibition plan. NOTE: Any potential restrictions related to pesticides on properties not owned by the jurisdiction must be administered by the Oregon Department of Agriculture (503-378-3810).
|12. Potential Source Restrictions:
Local communites may also want to consider establishing and implementing restrictions on the placement of some high-risk potential contaminant sources such as underground storage tanks, dry wells, sumps, injection wells, lagoons, and/or landfills within the wellhead protection area.
One or more of these management tools can also be applied within certain
distances from your well or wellfield. For example, you can create 6-month, 1-year, and
5-year time-of-travel (TOT) zones within the wellhead protection area and choose to apply
different management strategies within each zone. A fairly common use of this approach
includes a prohibition of hazardous wastes stored within a 6-month or 1-year TOT in the
wellhead protection area.
D. Consider choosing appropriate management tools specific to the category or
type of source within the wellhead protection area.
In Step 4 (Section 3-4), we recommended that you divide your wellhead protection
area into the following four land use categories:
If your wellhead protection area is divided into these categories, it will make
your Team's management strategy easier to develop since there are tools which can be
applied most appropriately by land use category. These will be discussed in this
section. Each category will have a summary of the most common sources and contaminants,
management tools, and resources for assistance.
One of the most important functions of your local wellhead protection Team is to
ensure that the concerns of different segments of the community are addressed as you
develop the management portion of the wellhead protection plan. DEQ recommends that the
representative(s) from each of the commercial, agriculture, and residential, etc. segments
review the options presented here and select the best tools for your particular community
to use in protecting groundwater. It is important that each representative obtain public
input and feedback as they select the option(s). In many cases, it may be beneficial to
seek outside assistance in addressing specific issues in your community. For example, the
agricultural representative may want to consult with the local Extension Service and
others to help them obtain the best information on any improvements in practices that
apply to their site-specific conditions. Many types of industries or commercial
establishments also have state or local associations which have already developed
pollution prevention tools that apply specifically to that business, such as the dry
cleaning industry. Efforts should be made to identify as many of these resources as
Commercial/Industrial Management Options
The commercial and industrial facilities in your wellhead protection area are
generally the most highly regulated of any land uses. However, even facilities that are
required to have permits for building, material, storage, or waste discharge cannot be
assumed to pose no risks to groundwater. The majority of other regulations applicable to
commercial and industrial facilities rely upon responses to contamination events, rather
than on preventing problems. In your management efforts working with the commercial and
industrial facilities, the focus will primarily be on PREVENTION of groundwater
There are many ways to achieve your goal of raising awareness of the need for
protection, and facilitating any potential changes in the day-to-day operations at the
existing businesses in order to reduce the risks of groundwater contamination.
Given adequate background information, free technical assistance, and community
support, most businesses will voluntarily participate in groundwater protection efforts.
We have not attempted to offer tools specific to individual types of businesses, although
these are available through DEQ's existing programs. This section will highlight those
existing programs related to commercial/industrial activities and groundwater protection,
specifically DEQ's pollution prevention and waste reduction programs, as well as provide
some handouts for potential use in your wellhead protection efforts.
Led by the commercial/industrial representative(s), your local Team can choose
one or more of the following options for management of commercial and industrial
For all types of commercial/industrial sources:
1. Encourage participation in pollution prevention and waste reduction
activities offered through Oregon DEQ.
To facilitate implementation of wellhead protection in your community, your Team should consider utilizing the existing resources and programs which can reduce the risks of groundwater contamination. Oregon DEQ has several established programs that can be extremely useful in your management efforts for commercial and industrial facilities located within the wellhead protection area. A significant amount of groundwater protection is already (directly and indirectly) accomplished in Oregon businesses through DEQ's Pollution Prevention Program and the implementation of the Toxics Use Reduction and Hazardous Waste Reduction (TURHWR) law requirements, with technical assistance offered by DEQ's Toxics Use Reduction staff.
Pollution prevention is the use of materials, processes, or practices that
reduce or eliminate the creation of pollutants or wastes at the source. It includes
practices that reduce the use of hazardous and nonhazardous materials, energy, water, or
other resources as well as those that protect natural resources through conservation or
more efficient use. The Federal Pollution Prevention Act of 1990 established pollution
prevention as a "national objective", recognizing that there are significant
opportunities for businesses to reduce or prevent pollution at the source through
cost-effective changes in production, operation, and raw materials use. Appendix F of this document contains an introduction to pollution
prevention concepts, as well as a list of resources available to businesses or your Team
in identifying specific pollution prevention applications for individual facilities.
Oregon DEQ recently commissioned a study of how to enhance pollution prevention
and technical assistance initiatives by the agency (Ross & Assoc., 1994). The report
provides a good summary of the existing efforts by DEQ to promote pollution prevention.
The primary program areas in which these initiatives have been implemented include: toxics
use and hazardous waste generation; enforcement; air quality; water quality; and solid
waste. Additional information on any of the following pollution prevention applications at
DEQ can be found in the Ross & Associates (1994) report or by calling DEQ's Waste
Management and Cleanup Division at (503) 229-5913.
Pollution Prevention Planning Requirements: The Toxics Use Reduction and Hazardous Waste Reduction (TURHWR) law of 1989 requires all businesses which use toxic materials to develop formal plans for reducing or eliminating the use of toxic substances and the generation of hazardous wastes. As of 1994, DEQ has a compliance rate of 83 percent (of 2250 facilities) self-certifying that the plan or progress report has been completed. More information about this program can be obtained from the TURHWR "Planning Guide" (DEQ, 1993). Through the planning process, facilities may discover opportunities to pursue pollution prevention or realize the benefits of pollution prevention of which they previously were unaware. This knowledge increases the likelihood that prevention will occur. DEQ also requires pollution prevention planning under the Oil Spill Prevention Plan focused on cargo ships, oil tankers, and oil storage facilities.
Technical Assistance: Technical assistance, when incorporating
information on pollution prevention techniques, philosophy, or technologies, can lead to a
wider awareness and adoption of pollution prevention techniques. Technical assistance
provided by the Toxic Use Reduction (TUR) staff at DEQ primarily promotes pollution
prevention by directly recommending lesser polluting practices. This is a free service
provided by the agency. More information on this program can be obtained by calling DEQ's
Waste Management and Cleanup Division at (503) 229-5913. The Construction Industry
Multimedia Pilot Project is also oriented around utilizing technical assistance to address
a potential environmental problem. The construction industry project has combined
information on the industry's regulatory obligations across all media programs with
information on pollution prevention alternatives to simplify compliance and promote
prevention (see the Environmental Handbook for Oregon Construction Contractors, 1994).
Technical assistance is also provided through outreach from the Groundwater and Surface
Water Nonpoint Source Programs and this Wellhead Protection Program.
Financial Incentives: A variety of mechanisms exist to reduce financial
expenditures associated with pollution prevention. These include low interest loans, tax
credits, and direct subsidies. DEQ utilizes a variety of financial incentives to promote
UST upgrades and maintenance (including tax credits, grant, and loan guarantees).
Information on the UST program can be obtained by calling DEQ's UST Helpline at (800)
742-7878. Additionally, the Environmental Crimes Act provides an indirect financial
incentive by lowering the potential fines and/or liability related to improper practices
discovered during a self-imposed environmental audit. Enforcement efforts across all DEQ
media programs have recently become subject to a new Oregon environmental crimes statute
that allows firms to declare information collected during self-imposed environmental
audits "privileged", and thus off-limits in enforcement. This Act helps remove a
major disincentive to firms evaluating their practices for potential improvements,
including, but not limited to, pollution prevention. More information on this issue can be
obtained by calling the DEQ enforcement group at (503) 229-5528.
Pollution Liability: The existing liability for cleaning up any hazardous
wastes released or spilled into the environment creates incentives for minimizing risks of
groundwater contamination. Measurable reduction in a facility's risks can be achieved
through pollution prevention. Any unit of reduction in toxics used or wastes generated is
a unit not creating potential liability. Sources which may have spills or releases in the
future have been awakened to the need to reduce liability by DEQ and EPA mandating
cleanups through federal and state cleanup requirements. Local communities are encouraged
to become familiar with DEQ's records and cleanup activities in their area. More
information on Oregon's cleanup program can be obtained by calling DEQ's Waste Management
Division at (503) 229-5913 or (800) 452-4011.
Disclosure of Release Data: Making pollutant release data available to
the public has generated awareness and concern and hence increased the willingness of
Oregon businesses to incorporate pollution prevention. DEQ has not implemented initiatives
utilizing release data to leverage public concern around specific pollution sources,
though the state as a whole has through the Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) process
administered by the State Fire Marshal. Information on the TRI process can be obtained by
calling the Fire Marshal's office in Salem at (503) 378-3473, Ext. 233.
Fees/Taxes: Fees and taxes can be tied to amounts of pollutant releases, or toxic/hazardous inputs to operating processes. Tying fees and taxes to the amount of pollution created provides a continuous incentive for further reductions in pollution levels. DEQ's Hazardous Waste Generation and Management Fee serves as both a disincentive to waste generation and as an incentive to manage waste in an environmentally preferable manner.
Pollution Prevention Recognition: Officially recognizing environmentally
friendly behavior can make pollution prevention a more attractive choice to facilities, as
well as help environmentally concerned consumers influence manufacturer's practices. These
goals can be accomplished through awards programs, certification programs, green market
efforts, labeling requirements, etc. DEQ uses a state-wide recognition in its annual
Toxics Use Reduction award event, recognizing significant achievement in the reduction of
toxic materials used in operating processes and practices.
Bans: Banning a substance or polluting practice is the "ultimate pollution prevention signal", and is an extreme approach to solving environmental problems. Due to their overreaching impact and rigidity, bans are usually reserved for extremely dangerous or detrimental practices, or for hazardous/toxic substances or practices for which substitutes are readily available. DEQ's use of bans includes the Statewide Phosphate Detergent Ban designed to improve water quality.
2. Distribute information on general best management practices that are
applicable to the majority of your potential commercial/industrial sources on ways to
achieve groundwater protection.
Best management practices are typically actions developed for specific
operations associated with agriculture and industry that serve to reduce hazardous
material usage or risks of release. Incorporating best management practices into an
operation is generally accomplished through process or design changes, operational changes
such as preventative maintenance, and employee training. The objectives (and subsequent
benefits) of incorporating best management practices into the "way of doing
business" can be summarized by the following:
There are many best management practices that are applicable to a wide range of
types of commercial and industrial operations since the majority of commercial and
industrial operations utilize storage facilities, drains, or dry wells, etc. Table 3-5 summarizes some of these
best management practices.
3. Send out individual letters with informative attachments about
resources available to identify best management practices for specific facilities.
Appendix G of this manual is a sample letter to a
property owner or operator within the wellhead protection area. The purpose of the letter
is to tell them that they are located in the wellhead protection area and ask that they
take voluntary actions to protect groundwater in this area. Attached to the letter is some
general information about the Waste Reduction Assistance Program at Oregon DEQ and a list
of free resources.
4. Host informative meetings with the leaders of the local business
community to raise awareness of the need for groundwater protection.
Oregon DEQ would be glad to work directly with local businesses, the Association
of Oregon Industries, or any other organization in developing materials and a presentation
for your local business community. This can be coordinated through the Wellhead Protection
Program by calling (503) 229-5279.
5. Establish a recognition program for businesses that take voluntary actions to protect groundwater.
6. Facilitate employee training workshops to raise awareness of
groundwater and potential impacts from mismanagement of hazardous wastes.
7. Any other approach that the local Team agrees will achieve your goals.
Commercial/Industrial Resource List
Center for Economics Research - Research Triangle Institute, Pollution
Prevention Resource Guide for Supporting CAA Regulatory Development - Final Report,
Research Triangle Park, NC, United States Environmental Protection Agency, September 1993.
Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, Benefiting from Toxic
Substance and Hazardous Waste Reduction: A Planning Guide for Oregon Businesses,
Portland, OR, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality - Waste Reduction Assistance
Program, March 1993.
Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, Information Clearinghouse,
Portland, OR, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality - Waste Reduction Assistance
Program, May 1994.
Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, Oregon's Toxics Use
Reduction & Hazardous Waste Reduction Act, Portland, OR, Oregon Department of
Environmental Quality - Waste Reduction Assistance Program, June 1994.
Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, Technical Assistance is
Available, Portland, OR, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality - Waste Reduction
Assistance Program, September 1994.
River City Resource Group, Inc., Environmental Handbook for Oregon
Construction Contractors: Best Pollution Prevention Practices, Portland, OR, Oregon
Department of Environmental Quality, May 1994.
River City Resource Group, Inc., Environmental Handbook for Oregon
Construction Contractors: Regulatory Guidance, Portland, OR, Oregon Department of
Environmental Quality, May 1994.
Ross and Associates Environmental Consulting, Ltd. and GEI Consultants, Inc.,
Enhancing Technical Assistance and Pollution Prevention Initiatives at the Oregon
Department of Environmental Quality - Final Report, Seattle, WA, Ross and Associates
Environmental Consulting, Ltd., April 1994.
United States Environmental Protection Agency, Best Management
Practices for Protecting Ground Water, Washington, DC, United States Environmental
Protection Agency - Office of Water, January, 1992.
United States Environmental Protection Agency, Don't Wait Until 1998:
Spill, Overfill, and Corrosion Protection for Underground Storage Tanks - EPA 510-B-94-002,
Washington, DC, United States Environmental Protection Agency, April 1994.
United States Environmental Protection Agency, Facility Pollution
Prevention Guide, Washington, DC, United States Environmental Protection Agency -
Office of Research and Development, May 1992.
Wang, Mitchell K., "Model" Toxics Use & Hazardous Waste
Reduction Plan - For Oregon Automotive Dealers, Portland, OR, Oregon Department of
Environmental Quality- Waste Reduction Assistance Program, 1992.
Washington State Department of Ecology, Storm Water Pollution
Prevention Planning for Industrial Facilities: Guidance for Developing Pollution
Prevention Plans and Best Management Practices, Water Quality Report WQ-R-93-015,
Olympia, WA, Washington State Department of Ecology, September 1993.
Job, Charles A. 1995. Business Benefits of Wellhead Protection,
EPA 813-B-95-004, Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water, Washington, D.C.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 1995. Benefits and Costs
of Prevention: Case Studies of Community Wellhead Protection. Volume 1. EPA
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 1995. Protecting Our Ground
Water. Poster. EPA 813-F-95-002
Witten, J.; Horsley, S.; Jeer, S., Flanagan, E. A Guide to Wellhead
Protection. 1995 American Planning Association Report Number 457/458. Chicago, IL
Hermanson, R.E., Canessa, P. A Ready Reference for Irrigation Manual
of Practice. 1995 WSU Cooperative Extension Publication EB1810.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 1995. Pollution
Prevention: A Resource Guide for the Northwest. Brochure. EPA 910/8-95-003.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 1992. Managing Chemicals
Safely. Chemical Emergency Preparedness and Prevention Office. EPA 510-K-92-001
Pacific Northwest Pollution Prevention Research Center. Pollution
Prevention Northwest. Quarterly newsletter. Seattle, WA Case studies, grand announcements,
innovations in process design and environmental regulation.
EPA Pollution Prevention Information Clearinghouse (PPIC) - The PPIC is
dedicated to reducing or eliminating pollutants through technology transfer, education,
and public awareness. It is operated by EPA's OPPTS. The Clearinghouse is a free,
non-regulatory service that consists of a telphone reference and referral service, a
distirubiton center for selected EPA documents, and a special collection available for
inter-library loan. Contact: Labat-Anderson Incorporated under contract for EPA
EPA's Environmental Network for Managerial Accounting and Capital Budgeting
- For a copy of this directory, which includes more than 600 participants, contact: EPA
Pollution Prevention Information Clearinghouse (PPIC) at 202-260-1023.
Introduction to Environmental Accounting: Key Concepts and Terms -
Discusses the major concepts underlying environmental accounting and how people are using
the terms associated with it. For a copy of this 40-page primer, contact: PPIC at
A Primer for Financial Analysis of Pollution Prevention Project, by the
American Institute for Pollution Prevention - Published by EPA. For a copy, contact: PPIC
A Workbook for Total Cost Assessment, by Mitch Kennedy - This is a
practical guide to calculating the real costs of pollution prevention projects. For a
copy, contact: the author at 202-236-4808. The cost is $10.
Green Ledgers: Case Studies in Corporate Environmental Accounting -
Edited by Daryl Ditz, Janet Ranganathan and R. Darryl Banks of the Work Resources
Institute. To order: call 800-822-0504. The cost is $19.95, plus $3.50 shipping and
Environmental Cost Accounting: Key Definitions and Terms - A 10-page
paper available through the Business Roundtable, 1615 L. Street NW, Washington, D.C.
An ABC Manager's Primer: Straight Talk on Activity-Based Costing,
by Gary Cokins, Alan Stratton and Jack Helbling - To order, contact: the Institute of
Management Accountants at 800-638-4427. The cost is $15.
Agricultural/Rural Management Options
If your Wellhead Protection Area includes a significant portion of agricultural
lands, you may want to consider assembling an "Agricultural Management Group"
(Ag Group) as a subcommittee to your Team. This Ag Group would assist the Team in
determining how best to address any agricultural or rural lands within the Wellhead
Protection Area. The Ag Group might include representatives from the local agricultural
community (farmers/landowners), local Extension Service office, the closest Experiment
Station, the local Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS, formerly SCS), the local
Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), the local Farm Services Agency (FSA),
agriculture services industry, and a representative from the Department of Agriculture.
The Ag Group could provide objective technical information on agricultural
issues to the agricultural landowners within the wellhead protection area and the rest of
the Team. The Ag Group should be able to provide access to the most current technical
information for groundwater protection which is appropriate for the local agricultural
practices and conditions, and meets the needs of the local agricultural community. The OSU
Extension Service can be used to facilitate education and any agriculture
The overall management objectives that agricultural lands within wellhead
protection area would be expected to meet are:
Ensuring that these objectives are met on agricultural lands within wellhead
protection areas would ensure that management of agricultural sources would be consistent
with the goal of the Wellhead Protection Plan.
The approach to develop the management plan for addressing agricultural lands
and activities within wellhead protection areas includes two main steps:
During the inventory of the wellhead protection area, there will not be any
effort to assess specific activities or practices on each farm. Only the most obvious and
visible activities will be listed during the inventory for agricultural lands.
Moving from the inventory step to the management step requires that a more
detailed assessment of the site-specific sources and practices be performed on
agricultural lands. This step will lead to the identification of the most significant
sources needing to be addressed and the appropriate management measures with which to
address them. The resulting management measures then become the basis of the management
plan for agricultural lands within wellhead protection areas.
The Ag Group would be expected to see that the on-farm assessment of
agricultural practices is carried out and that a management plan is developed in response
to that assessment. They should work with the agricultural landowners in the wellhead
protection area and consult with the Team to accomplish these tasks.
The methodology for developing the management approach for agricultural lands is
summarized as follows:
1. The Ag Group will assess the specific type of agricultural activities and
practices occurring on the agricultural lands within the wellhead protection area by:
2. The Ag Group can screen out those potential sources that pose low risks to
the groundwater by:
3. The Ag Group can identify and choose appropriate management tools specific to
the category or type of agriculture, such as:
To assist with the on-farm assessment, Table 3-6 is provided as a guideline of significant potential
sources specific to agricultural and rural lands. It lists common agricultural activities
and sources they may be a potential source of contamination to ground water. For each
source/activity, the information provided includes why it may be of concern to groundwater
quality and the factors that would help determine whether or not it could be an actual
Low risk sources are either those sources that are already being addressed by appropriate control measures or BMPs or where it was determined that the contaminants or activities did not occur within the wellhead protection area. In either situation, the Ag Group will need to reliably document that there is little potential for groundwater contamination from these sources.
Once an assessment of the activities has been made and low-risk sources have
been screened out, the Ag Group will next determine the appropriate management practices
and measures for medium and high risk sources. Table 3-7 is provided to assist in accomplishing this
task. The table lists, by activity or source, management practices and measures that would
reduce the risk that the source or practice poses to groundwater contamination.
There are many sources of information available to assist the agricultural
community in protecting groundwater. Table 3-8 provides a summary of the principles, strategies, and
example BMPs that can be used to protect groundwater. More information on these BMPs is
available by obtaining the source publication (National Association of Wheat Growers
It should be understood that BMPs, though widely agreed upon and researched, are
only suggestions of how agricultural practices might be improved to provide profitability
and protect the environment. They are also only as good as the latest research that has
been done and may be modified somewhat in subsequent years as new knowledge is gained.
Therefore, published BMPs should not be viewed as the only practical solution in every
The Ag Group or agricultural representative of the Team should be flexible in their approach and only base recommendations to farmers on a combination of scientifically sound (and current) information and practical judgment. The Ag Group should serve as a resource to the farmer in helping to locate the latest technical information on BMPs for wellhead protection, and any other technical or financial assistance which might be
available. In addition, should the assessment turn up practices/activities that
are causing groundwater contamination problems for which there is no known BMPs available,
the Ag Group might recommend in the management plan that resources are needed to develop
BMPs to address the site-specific problem.
The site-specific application of BMPs should reflect the consensus of the
landowner, the agriculture member(s) of the Team, and the Ag Group. They should choose the
specific BMPs which will work best under local conditions.
Once all of the appropriate management measures have been identified for
agricultural/rural lands within the wellhead protection area, the Ag Group will need to
document them in a brief report, along with a strategy for implementation. This document
will then be submitted to the Team for inclusion in the Wellhead Protection Plan.
Whether an Ag Group or your local Team determines the management recommendations
for the agricultural lands within the wellhead protection area, implementation will best
be accomplished through voluntary efforts to reduce the risks of groundwater
contamination. Any management alternative that seeks to directly regulate farming
practices must be developed and implemented by the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ORS
690, Section 62).
Agricultural Resources - The following description of various
efforts and programs in Oregon are provided because they could be a source of assessment
tools and management measures and practices. Oregon has two federally funded Hydrologic
Unit Areas (HUA) that have been targeted as sites for federal, state and local efforts to
reduce pollution from agricultural activities. In each of these areas, Washington and
Malheur Counties, extensive efforts have been devoted to the demonstration of management
practices that are consistent with Oregon agricultural production needs and with the local
groundwater protection concerns. In each of these areas, research and demonstration
efforts related to nutrient management have led to more effective nutrient utilization
with less nitrate being lost to the underlying aquifers. Similarly these HUAs have
provided an opportunity to demonstrate the benefits of more prudent irrigation management
as a way to reduce water consumption as well as nutrient leaching beyond the root zone.
Although the results of these demonstrations are widely shared and will probably be known
by the people selected to be Ag Group members, more direct interaction may prove helpful.
One way to approach these organizations as resources is through the County Extension
Offices. Both Washington and Malheur County Extension personnel are actively involved in
the HUA programs and can provide access to the locally devised BMPs. Alternatively, the
Natural Resource Conservation Service and the Farm Services Agency have offices in each of
these counties and can be used as sources of information.
Research and demonstration efforts are underway throughout the state to support
the adoption of BMPs that can be used without adverse impact on the rural landowner. Much
of this research has been supported by the US Environmental Protection Agency through the
Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and conducted by researchers working at the
Oregon Agricultural Experiment Stations. In addition to the locations near Corvallis,
trials devoted to the demonstration of alternative BMPs for groundwater protection are
being conducted at the stations near Aurora, Madras, Ontario, Hermiston and Medford.
Station superintendents at each of these stations are available to discuss current
research and provide access to what has been done in the past to establish alternative
practices that are economically viable in Oregon. Recent work has indicated the
opportunity to monitor the leaching of soluble pollutants below the root zone of crops.
This is a much more immediate indicator of groundwater pollution than waiting for
contaminants to be detected in local wells. These results confirm the need for both
nutrient and water management for irrigated agriculture.
The Ag Group or Team can seek assistance from local agricultural
product suppliers in developing BMPs or alternative practices which protect groundwater.
The local fertilizer and pesticide providers, for example, could assist farmers in making
best management choices with special consideration of the groundwater resources. In
addition, the local Fire Marshal and/or your Regional DEQ office could be helpful in both
inventorying and examining above ground and underground fuel storage tanks for possible
safeguards against spills and leaks. Local petroleum product providers could also be
helpful in assisting farmers in determining best management strategies for fuel storage
and handling to protect groundwater. Local farmers cooperatives could be a valuable
resource in helping farmers within the wellhead protection area meet the objectives stated
earlier. Including local agricultural youth groups such as Future Farmers of America (FFA)
and 4-H Clubs in this program, under the supervision of their teachers, could provide a
tremendous opportunity to educate themselves and others about the values and methods of
wellhead protection on agricultural lands. The creativity of other local Teams throughout
Oregon will undoubtedly generate novel approaches not listed here.
Agricultural/Rural Resource List
The Oregon State University (OSU) Extension Service - Information on best
management practices to avoid groundwater pollution is available in each of the Oregon
Counties by contacting the local OSU Extension office. You may also contact Ron Miner at
OSU in Corvallis who serves as the water quality contact at (541) 737-6295. His office
also has a series of publications available. For information on county offices, call
The Oregon State University Agricultural Experiment Stations
- Agricultural research is carried out in different locations around Oregon, including
development of BMPs.
Oregon State University
Phone: (541) 737-4251
The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS, was SCS)
- A good source of technical information on BMPs, especially as they have been applied in
101 SW Main St., Suite 1300
Portland, OR 97204
Phone: (503) 414-3249
The Farm Services Agency (FSA) - A federal agency which
offers funding for various agricultural programs.
Phone: (503) 692-6830
Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCD) - A good source of local conservation information. Offices in every county. Contact:
Phone: (503) 986-4700
Home*A*Syst, Homestead Assessment System - "A Program
to Help You Protect the Groundwater that Supplies Your Drinking Water" (Developed in
Oregon for Oregon Farms and Homesteads. Many useful worksheets and fact sheets designed
especially for reduction of point/farm sources of contamination to the landowner's own
Gilmore Hall 116
Corvallis, OR 97331-3906
Phone: (541) 737-6294
Document EM 8546 for $12.00 per copy available from:
Oregon State University
Administrative Services A422
Corvallis, OR 97331-2119
Phone: (541) 737-2513
Oregon Water Quality Decision Aid - Developed in Oregon
for Oregon farms. Provides technical information about pesticide use. Guides assessment
and management of pesticide use with regards to pesticide leaching potential and soil
vulnerability. Associated publications also available to aid in assessment and management
plans: EM 8559, EM 8560 and EM 8561.
Oregon State University
Administrative Services A422
Corvallis, OR 97331-2119
Phone: (541) 737-2513
Water Quality Protection Guide - "Recommended Pollution Control
Practices for Rural Homeowners and Small Farm Operators". Provides general BMPs for
surface and groundwater protection. 1995.
A Guide to Pesticide - Related Licensing in Oregon August 1995.
Both available from:
Department of Agriculture
Natural Resources Division
635 Capitol St., NE
Salem, OR 97310-0110
Phone: (503) 986-4700
Best Management Practices for Wheat-A Guide to Profitable and Environmentally Sound Production. Written by the Cooperative Extension System and The National Association of Wheat Growers Foundation. Many of the BMPs are applicable to non-wheat crops. An easy to follow presentation of how BMPs can benefit the farmer while protecting the groundwater. For information or to obtain copies contact:
(See also: The Oregon Wheat Growers League below.)
415 2nd St., N.E., Suite 300
Phone: (202) 547-7800
50 Ways Farmers Can Protect Their Groundwater - A guide to
general and specific BMPs with background information. Several interviews with farmers
that have successfully applied BMPs to benefit their operations while protecting the
groundwater. Developed by the University of Illinois Cooperative Extension Service.
University of Illinois
Office of Agricultural
Communications and Education Information Services
69-DP Mumford Hall
1301 West Gregory Drive
Urbana, IL 61801
Transition Document, Standards and Procedures - Guide for
farmers interested in organic farming to minimize threats to groundwater from agricultural
practices. Available from:
P.O. Box 218
Tualatin, OR 97062
Phone: (503) 692-4877
Fax: (503) 691-2514
National Pesticide Telecommunications Network - Currently housed at Oregon State University. Provides information on the toxicology, human health effects, and environmental fate of pesticides.
Monday through Friday
Pesticide Container Management Program - Sponsored by the Oregon
Agricultural Chemicals & Fertilizers Association (OACFA). Collection sites throughout
the state in spring and fall. Participants required to rinse containers and to put rinsate
in their spray tank; containers recycled.
For information contact:
1270 Chemeketa St., N.E.
Salem, OR 97301
Phone: (503) 370-7024
The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) - The ODA is
interested in promoting the widespread use of management practices that protect
groundwater quality. The ODA also works through the local Soil and Water Conservation
ODA, Natural Resources Division
635 Capitol Street, NE
Salem, OR 97310
Phone: (503) 986-4700
Future Farmers of America (FFA) - High School students studying
agriculture. May be able to help the ag member(s) of the Team by educating themselves and
others about BMPs for groundwater protection. Contact your local High School to see if
they have this student group.
4H Clubs - Students involved in agricultural activities in their
communities. May be able to help the ag member(s) of the Local WHP Team by educating
themselves and others about BMPs for groundwater protection. Contact your local Extension
Agent for information.
Oregon Wheat Growers League - Association of wheat farmers. May be able
to help implement BMPs presented in "Best Management Practices for Wheat" guide.
Rt. 34, Box 421
Pendleton, OR 97801
Phone: (541) 276-9278
Beneath the Bottom Line: Agricultural Approaches to Reduce Agrichemical
Contamination of Groundwater - 1990. Office of Technology Assessment, Washington, D.C.
OTA-F-418, pp. 337.
Residential/Municipal Management Options
Residential areas are not typically thought of as being potential sources of
groundwater contamination. We have tended to look at commercial and industrial operations
as the primary potential sources of contamination. As was iscussed in Step 4 (Section
3.4), it is now recognized that residential areas can be significant sources of
Municipal sources are grouped with residential because many of these municipal
sources can be found in the same areas as the residential land uses. (In developing your
management approach, your Team can group land uses or potential sources according to any
other criteria you choose.) Although the tools for managing many of the potential sources
in the "Municipal" category will be the same as the
"Commercial/Industrial" approach, your Team may choose a different approach in
managing these since they are usually publicly-owned facilities. Please refer to the
"Commercial/Industrial" tools to address sources such as treatment plants, motor
pools, waste transfer stations, and water treatment plants. In this section, we will
highlight other common moderate to higher-risk residential and municipal sources and
recommend some management tools associated with each of them.
Led by the residential or municipal representative(s), your local Team can
choose one or more of the following options for management of residential/municipal
sources within your wellhead protection area:
Housing - especially high density areas with >1 house per .5 acre:
Household Hazardous Wastes: see Table 3-2
(Section 3.4) for a list of the potential contaminants)
1. Host or facilitate household hazardous waste collection events.
Call DEQ's Waste Management and Cleanup Division at 503-229-5913 for more
information on collection events in your area or how to coordinate a collection event;
2. Increase awareness of safe disposal of household wastes by:
3. Increase awareness of less toxic alternatives that can be used in the
Lawn/Garden Care: see Table 3-2 (Section 3.4) for a list of the potential contaminants:
1. Encourage best management practices (BMPs) such as:
Septic Systems - especially high density areas with >1 per acre; see
Table 3-2 (Section 3.4) for a list of the potential contaminants:
1. Encourage best management practices such as:
2. Develop long-term solutions to area-wide problems:
Urban Runoff/Storm Water - NOTE: not listed as a separate source during
inventory; see Table 3-2 (Section 3.4) for a list of the
1. Encourage best management practices (BMPs) to improve the quality of storm
water which infiltrates to groundwater:
2. Encourage best management practices for road and parking lot construction
Golf Courses and Parks - see Table 3-2 (Section
3.4) for a list of the potential contaminants:
1. Encourage best management practices for handling and applications of
pesticides and fertilizers:
Landfills/Dumps - see Table 3-2 (Section 3.4) for a list of the potential
1. Review status of all operating landfills within your wellhead protection
Maintenance/Fueling Areas - see Table 3-2
(Section 3.4) for a list of the potential contaminants:
1. Work with officials from utility company, airport, and railroad facilities
to ensure the best management practices are being utilized to prevent groundwater
Many of the best management practices highlighted in Table 3-5 (Section 3.5)
under Storage Facilities, Spill Control, Materials & Waste Management, and Employee
Training can apply to maintenance and fueling areas.
Residential/Municipal Resource List
Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, Pollution Prevention
Begins At Home, Portland, OR, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, (brochure -
Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, Small Businesses and
Hazardous Waste: What you should know - A Handbook for People Who Produce Small Amounts of
Hazardous Waste (Conditionally Exempt Generators), Portland, Oregon Department of
Environmental Quality - Waste Reduction Assistance Program, September 1992.
Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, Oregon Metropolitan Service
District, and Washington State Department of Ecology, The Hazardless Home Handbook,
Portland, OR, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, and Oregon Metropolitan Service
District (METRO), 1995 (call DEQ at 503-229-5913).
Oregon Metropolitan Service District (METRO), Common Sense Gardening -
A Guide to Alternatives to Pesticides, Portland, OR, City of Portland Bureau of
Environmental Services, and Oregon Metropolitan Service District (METRO), (not dated).
Oregon Metropolitan Service District (METRO), Dispose of Household
Hazardous Waste Safely, Portland, OR, Oregon Metropolitan Service District (METRO),
Oregon Metropolitan Service District (METRO), Safer Substitutes for
Household Hazardous Products, Portland, OR, Oregon Metropolitan Service District
Oregon Water Resources Department, A Consumer's Guide to Water Well
Construction, Maintenance, and Abandonment, Salem, OR, Oregon Water Resources
Ross and Associates Environmental Consulting, Ltd. and GEI Consultants, Enhancing
Technical Assistance and Pollution Prevention Initiatives at the Oregon Department of
Environmental Quality, Seattle, WA, Ross and Associates Environmental Consulting,
Ltd., April 1994.
United States Environmental Protection Agency, Wellhead Protection: A
Guide for Small Communities, Washington, DC, United States Environmental Protection
Agency - Office of Water, February 1993.
United States Environmental Protection Agency, Wellhead Protection
Implementation Training - Module 4: Developing Management Approaches, Washington, DC,
United States Environmental Protection Agency - Office of Water, September 1992.
Washington Toxics Coalition, Alternatives: A Washington Toxics Coalition Fact Sheet, "A Safer Home: Reducing Your Use of Hazardous Household Products", Portland, OR, Reprinted by Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, 1991.
Contact Oregon DEQ with questions about any other potential sources. Wellhead protection staff can be reached at
Miscellaneous Management Options
Several of the potential sources inventoried as "Miscellaneous"
sources could present the most serious threats to your drinking water. In particular, if
you've identified leaking or unregulated underground storage tanks, historic waste dumps,
or any type of well(s), you will need to carefully look at these individual sites as they
are considered very high risks. In this section, we will highlight some of the most common
and identify basic tools to address them. In many cases, you will want to consider using
resources available through Oregon DEQ to assess whether there is a significant threat
from an individual site you have identified.
Your Team should review the individual sources identified in this category and
consider using some of the following options to address them:
Underground Storage Tanks and Historic Gas Stations - see Table 3-2 (Section 3-4) for a list of the potential contaminants.
NOTE: Underground storage tanks can pose a significant threat to
groundwater since they are generally located just above the water table in many areas of
1. Verify status of all underground storage tanks identified in your
inventory; contact DEQ's tank program with any questions on the status or permit
conditions of individual tanks at (503) 229-5913.
Federal and state regulations require the licensing of underground storage tank
service providers, permitting of tanks, notification of tank decommissioning, and prompt
notification of spills and specific cleanup procedures. (See "UST Cleanup
Manual" DEQ, 1995, for more information on rules and standards for cleanup.) All
tanks and piping must have leak detection. Existing USTs must be protected from spills,
overfills, and corrosion by December, 1998. (For more information, see "Don't Wait
Until 1998 - Spill, Overfill, and Corrosion Protection for Underground Storage Tanks"
2. Contact DEQ's Site Assessment program at (503) 229-5913 for more
information on any historic gas stations you identified during the inventory.
Construction/Demolition Areas - see Table 3-2 (Section
3.4) for a list of the potential contaminants.
1. Obtain copies of "Environmental Handbook for Oregon Construction
Contractors" (DEQ, 1994):
Wells - see Table 3-2 (Section 3.4) for a list of the potential
Improperly constructed water supply wells or monitoring wells may either
contaminate an aquifer or produce contaminated water. Dug wells, generally of large
diameter, shallow depth, and poorly protected, commonly are contaminated by surface runoff
flowing into the well. Driven wells (as opposed to drilled wells) do not have a casing
seal and may allow shallow contaminated water to enter the aquifer. Other contamination
has been caused by infiltration of water through contaminated fill around a well or
through the gravel pack. Still other contamination has been caused by septic tank,
barnyard, feedlot, or cesspool effluent draining directly into the well. Many
contamination and health problems can arise because of poor well construction.
Over time, well casings and seals may also begin to deteriorate in wells. Proper maintenance will help extend the life of your well, but eventually repairs may be needed. A landowner is responsible for the maintenance of wells on his or her property. If well construction problems are discovered that could contribute to the contamination or waste of the groundwater resource, the Oregon Water Resources Department (WRD) can require the landowner repair or eliminate the problem. WRD will look first to the well constructor if the standards were not adhered to, but if the constructor is unwilling or unable to perform the repairs, the landowner must assume the costs.
Unused wells that are not abandon-ed correctly can cause groundwater contamination, and under certain conditions, waste or loss of artesian pressure. Ultimately, landowners can be held responsible for harm to the groundwater resource of the public resulting from unused wells. Oregon well abandonment standards (OAR 690-220) are designed to protect the resource and the public and to ensure that unused wells are abandoned properly to prevent the problems listed above. The goal in permanently abandoning wells is to restore as closely as possible the geologic conditions which existed before the well was constructed and to prevent any future vertical movement of water in the drillhole.
There are two types of water well abandonment under Oregon rules - temporary and
permanent abandonment. A well is considered temporarily abandoned when it is taken out of
service due to a recess in use. A temporarily abandoned well must be covered by a
watertight cap or seal. This prevents water or any other materials from entering the well
from the surface. A well is considered permanently abandoned when it is completely filled
so that movement of water within the well is permanently stopped. The Oregon Water
Resources Department requires different abandonment techniques depending upon the type of
well construction that was used and the local geology.
1. Encourage the proper abandonment of any unused wells in your wellhead
2. Encourage special precautions be taken in any storage areas, sheds, and
the immediate vicinity of any well to prevent contaminants from entering the well.
The Oregon Water Resources Department can provide additional technical resources
and information on protecting your wells.
Injection Wells / Drywells /Sumps - see Table 3-2
(Section 3.4) for a list of the potential contaminants.
Basically, injection wells are man-made or improved "holes" in the ground, which are deeper than their widest surface dimension and are used to discharge or dispose of fluids underground. When properly sited, constructed, and operated, injections wells can be an effective and environmentally safe means of fluid waste disposal. There are many different types of injection wells, but they are similar in their basic function. Many shallow injection practices occur in Oregon, with differing permit requirements. Those underground injection activities which do not require a permit but are regulated by rule are: (1) storm water runoff; (2) the injection of small quantities of geothermal fluid re-injected into the same aquifer which produced it or into an aquifer of equivalent quality; and (3) cesspools, septic tank/drainfield and seepage pits for domestic sewerage systems with flows of less than 5,000 gallons per day.
1. Verify the permit status of any injection wells in
your wellhead protection area by contacting the Oregon DEQ's Water Quality staff at (503)
2. Encourage elimination of the use of any dry wells or sumps in your
wellhead protection area.
Transportation Corridors - see Table 3-2 (Section 3.4) for a list
of the potential contaminants).
1. Ensure that state and local transportation officials know where
the wellhead protection area underlies major roadways so precautions can be taken to
minimize the applications of herbicides on right-of-ways that may contaminate groundwater.
(This includes contacting the local Weed Control District.)
2. Review spill response procedures for any hazardous materials that
could be spilled on roadways:
Military Installations - see Table 3-2 (Section
3.4) for a list of the potential contaminants)
1. Contact the state or federal environmental coordinator for any
military facilities located within the wellhead protection area and ensure that they are
aware of the need for groundwater protection.
2. Obtain a copy of any environmental assessments or reports of
cleanup activities to be informed of the potential sources on the military base.
Managed Forests - see Table 3-2 (Section
3.4) for a list of the potential contaminants.
Local governments can impact federal timber harvesting operations
including logging methods and erosion control on U.S. Forest Service or Bureau of Land
Management lands through local water quality requirements as provided for in Section 313
of PL 92-500. To affect state and private timber operations, local jurisdictions will have
to negotiate with the Oregon Department of Forestry regarding forest practices and with
the Oregon DEQ regarding the application of water quality standards and possible Total
Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) requirements placed on state and private forestry operations.
1. Review forest practices by federal, state, or private operators
within the managed forests in your area:
2. Encourage the application of non-point source control measures in
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