At its February 17th meeting, the Environmental Protection Commission will be asked to approve the Notice of Intended Action to initiate rulemaking to amend Chapters 50 “Scope of Division,” 52 “Criteria and Conditions for Authorizing Withdrawal, Diversion and Storage of Water,” and 53 “Protected Water Sources.”
Click on the “Upcoming Meeting” link to open the agenda; this item is #5. Click on the #5 in the left navigation pane to open up the agenda item.
From the Agenda Brief:
The proposed amendments will revise the rules governing the use of the Cambrian-Ordovician Aquifer (commonly called the Jordan Aquifer) in Iowa. The proposed changes are a result of the recommendations made to the Commission by the EO80 Stakeholder Group that was tasked with evaluating the current rules to better manage the usage of the Jordan Aquifer. At its November 19, 2014, meeting, the Commission directed the EO80 Stakeholder Group and the Department to develop rules for those recommendations that required rule changes.
Reason for Rulemaking: The Jordan Aquifer extends underneath much of Iowa and is a significant well water source in the state. Protection from overuse of the resource (also known as dewatering the aquifer) is needed in some parts of the state. The EO80 Stakeholder Group developed a tiered classification system for existing and future Jordan wells that are required to be permitted under the state’s water allocation rules, so that the resource will have a sustainable use into the future. A water allocation permit must be obtained by anyone withdrawing at least 25,000 gallons in a single day during the year. A permit holder withdrawing more water than the aquifer can sustain at that well location will be required to develop a water use reduction plan and implement measures so that the aquifer can recover to a sustainable level. Other proposed rule amendments require activities that result in closer oversight of the aquifer.
Stakeholder Involvement: The EO80 Stakeholder Group met five times in 2014, and its recommendations were presented to the Commission on June 17, 2014, and on November 19, 2014. A sixth meeting was held on December 30, 2014, with Department staff to finalize the proposed amendments. Members of this committee and the representation the members provided are as follows:
John Crotty, Iowa Environmental Council - Environmental advocacy group
Shawn Kerrick, Koch Nitrogen - Industrial user from business located in affected area
Gale McIntosh, Northway Pump - Water well contractor
Jill Soenen, Iowa Association of Municipal Utilities - Municipal utility association
Todd Steigerwaldt, City of Marion (Water Works) - Municipal user in affected area
Becky Svatos, Stanley Consultants and Iowa Association of Business and Industry - Professional consulting engineering firm and business association
Nancy Couser, DNR Environmental Protection Commission - State agency
Summary of Proposed Changes: Chapter 50: amend the definition of aquifer, and add the definitions of confined aquifer and water use reduction plan.
In Chapter 52, rescind the current subrule pertaining to the withdrawal of water from the Cambrian-Ordovician (Jordan) Aquifer and replace it with a new subrule that:
- Adds tiering criteria to classify each Jordan well requiring a water allocation permit into one of three tiers, depending upon the pumping water levels as compared to the 1978 Horick and Steinhilber potentiometric surface and the top of the Jordan aquifer at that location.
- -Tier 1 wells shall follow standard water use reporting procedures with no additional requirements.
- -Tier 2 and Tier 3 wells have the additional requirements of site-specific water use reduction plans. The new subrule also includes the actions the Department may take if water levels continue to decline beyond the Tier 3 level.
- Changes the permit cycle for Jordan water allocation permits from ten years to five years.
- For new Jordan wells, requires that a water allocation permit be obtained before a water well construction permit is issued, to ensure adequate water allocation before the expense of the well construction is incurred.
- Retains the current 200 gallons per minute restriction on irrigation, recreational, and aesthetic uses.
- Retains the 2,000 gallons per minute restriction on industrial and power generation uses.
- Replaces the measurement level of piezometric head with the pumping level.
- Prohibits once-through cooling or geothermal use, with an allowance for geothermal use only if all of the withdrawn water is injected back into the aquifer.
In Chapter 53, add two areas to the protected source rules, in Johnson and Linn Counties, and in Webster County, and require that only the Department issue the well construction permits inside of those defined areas.