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Groundwater/Wellhead Protection - Regulations

City of Kalamazoo Wellhead Protection Zoning Overlay

On May 21, 2007 a pdf  Wellhead Protection Zoning Overlay  and pdf  Wellhead Protection Overlay Ordinance  was formally adopted by the City Commission for the city's Wellhead Protection Areas, as defined by the 1-Year and 10-Year Time-of-Travel Capture Zones.

  • A Wellhead Protection Area (WHPA) is the surface or subsurface areas supplying water to wells or wellfields through which contaminants are reasonably likely to move toward and reach such wellfields.
  • A Time-of-Travel Capture Zone is the area indicating the travel time for water to flow through an aquifer and reach a well or wellfield.
  • The City uses the 1-Year Time-of-Travel Zone and the 10-Year Time-of-Travel Zone in the subject zoning overlay.

The primary objectives of the Zoning Overlay are to:

  1. Prevent the establishment or creation of non-compatible land uses within the WHPAs that have a higher risk of contaminating groundwater resources used for drinking water and/or would prevent/limit the City's ability to obtain necessary MDEQ well permits to replace or add wells.
  2. Protect drinking water supplies from spills, leaks, and other releases into the groundwater caused by improper storage, handling, use, production, or discharge of Regulated Substances by the use of Performance Standards/Best Management Practices appropriate for higher groundwater risk land uses.
  3. Prevent or minimize public and private losses due to contamination of the public water supply by avoiding expenditure of public funds for costly pollution remediation projects and/or replacement of Public water Supply System assets.
  4. Minimize interruptions to businesses by only regulating specific land use activities within specific designated wellhead protection capture zones, as based upon determined potential risk to the Public Water Supply System.

Performance Standards for Groundwater Protection within Wellhead Protection Capture Zones and Stormwater Quality Management

On May 21, 2007 the City Commission formally adopted an pdf  Ordinance  for pdf  Performance Standards for Groundwater Protection . It was intended to be used in combination with the pdf  Performance Standards Map , the  pdf  Minimum Well Isolation Distance Standard , pdf  Spill Plan Template , pdf  Figure 3 , pdf  Figure 4 , and the City's site plan review process to help safeguard the drinking water sources and protect surface water quality from higher-risk land use activities.

The Performance Standards provide reasonable protective measures/best management practices (BMPs) for the prevention or minimization of releases of Regulated Substances that could adversely impact water quality. The Performance Standards include the following:

  • a groundwater contamination risk assessment based on allowed uses within the City's zoning districts and specific higher-risk land uses relative to groundwater quality;
  • general and land use specific site plan review standards;
  • stormwater quality management criteria;
  • criteria for non-conforming land uses; and
  • references to relevant environmental regulations.

Existing non-conforming uses pursuant to the Wellhead Protection Zoning Overlay would be required to incorporate appropriate performance standards and/or prepare a Spill Contingency Plan (SCP) within two years of the formal adoption of the Wellhead Protection Zoning Overlay by the City Commission, or within one year of the City notifying the site of its non-conforming status, whichever is sooner.

Like the Wellhead Protection Zoning Overlay, the Performance Standards minimize interruptions and impact to businesses by only addressing specific higher-risk land use activities within specifically designated capture zones (as based upon risk potential), and potential impacts of stormwater runoff.

Visit http://www.protectyourwater.net/ for more information about the Wellhead Protection Program and other water resources protection issues.