Prevent Water Pollution
The Lower Yakima Valley in Washington State appears to have a challenge with well-water, as reported in the Dec 5/08 edition of the Yakima Herald.
The US EPA has convened a meeting with + a dozen agencies responsible for public health and the environment.
Several options seem to be available and are being considered: Offer grants/loans to communities to build public water systems or to drill deeper wells; Enforcement of existing laws, including declaring the area a "sole source acquifer" wherein the Federal Government can withhold grants and subsidies to agriculture if that activity is viewed as a threat to the water supply; Invocation of an emergency section of the Safe Water Drinking Act by declaring that a specific enterprise, eg. a farm, is causing a contaminant to enter a public water system or acquifer.
$15,000 per day penalties are possible where the polluter fails to supply a clean source of water as s/he corrects the situation.
This EPA authority has been used in North Carolina where swine producers were polluting drinking water with nitrates.The EPA could review dairies to verify they are adhering to their legally mandated dairy-manure management plans.The EPA could locate and cap abandoned wells which are seen to be conduits for contaminants to leach into drinking water supplies and recover the cost from the land owners.