Camano Island Aquifer, WA | Region 10 | US EPA

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Camano Island Aquifer, WA

The Camano Island Aquifer was designated as a sole source aquifer on April 6, 1982. Therefore, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) may review any proposed federally funded project to determine if that project may “create a significant hazard to public health” under Section 1424(e) of the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974 (42 U.S.C. 300 et. seq.). If EPA makes such a finding, EPA may require the project to be amended “to assure that it will not so contaminate the aquifer.”

In 2004, Ducks Unlimited (DU) received state grants from the Salmon Recovery Funding Board to design and construct a levee setback project on Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (WDFW) Leque Island Wildlife Area. In 2007, DU was awarded federal Puget Sound Acquisition and Restoration funds to compete the project. As designed, the Leque Island Estuary Restoration Project (Leque Project) would restore about 115 acres of estuarine intertidal vegetated wetlands by removing sections of existing dikes to restore tidal inundation. Some sections of these dikes have already failed, resulting in tidal inundation of portions of Leque Island.

During the summer of 2010, EPA received a request from the Camano Water Systems Association to determine whether or not the Leque Project would result in increased saltwater intrusion into the designated Camano Island Sole Source Aquifer. Other stakeholders included the Juniper Beach Water District, the Washington Waterfowl Association, and the Snohomish County Farm Bureau.

In evaluating the Leque Project, EPA requested additional information on groundwater flow and recommended that WDFW install monitoring wells before proceeding with the Leque Project. A technical committee was formed, which recommended groundwater modeling. WDFW agreed to conduct a groundwater study and contracted with Pacific Groundwater Group (PGG) to perform an investigation. The study, entitled "Hydrogeologic Evaluation of Proposed Leque Island Restoration," (PDF) (109 pp, 3.4MB) was completed in December of 2012 and submitted to EPA for review. EPA offered a public comment period from January 11, 2013 to February 12, 2013. Several stakeholders and agencies provided comments on the study. The comment period has now expired. We expect to make a final determination on the Leque Project by July 31, 2013.

Federal Register Designation (PDF) (2 pp, 113K) - April 6, 1982
PPG'S Hydrogrologic Evaluation of Proposed Leque Island Restoration (PDF) (109 pp, 3.4MB)

Note: Dr. Hantush is a Senior Research Hydrologist, not Hydrogeologist as referred to by PGG

Comments on PGG’s Evaluation EPA Review of PGG Hydrogeologic Evaluation of Leque Island Restoration (PDF) (4 pp, 57K)
EPA Response to Comments on PGG Hydrogeologic Evaluation of Leque Island Restoration (PDF) (6 pp, 73K)
EPA Letter of Determination (PDF) (5 pp, 497K)

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