49 CFR § 195.6 - Unusually Sensitive Areas (USAs).
(a) An USA drinking water resource is:
(1) The water intake for a Community Water System (CWS) or a Non-transient Non-community Water System (NTNCWS) that obtains its water supply primarily from a surface water source and does not have an adequate alternative drinking water source;
(2) The Source Water Protection Area (SWPA) for a CWS or a NTNCWS that obtains its water supply from a Class I or Class IIA aquifer and does not have an adequate alternative drinking water source. Where a state has not yet identified the SWPA, the Wellhead Protection Area (WHPA) will be used until the state has identified the SWPA; or
(b) An USA ecological resource is:
(4) An area containing an imperiled species, threatened or endangered species, depleted marine mammal species, or an imperiled ecological community where the species or community is aquatic, aquatic dependent, or terrestrial with a limited range;
(5) An area containing an imperiled species, threatened or endangered species, depleted marine mammal species, or imperiled ecological community where the species or community occurrence is considered to be one of the most viable, highest quality, or in the best condition, as identified by an element occurrence ranking (EORANK) of A (excellent quality) or B (good quality) or
(6) A coastal beach; or
(c) Definitions used in this part—
Adequate Alternative Drinking Water Source means a source of water that currently exists, can be used almost immediately with a minimal amount of effort and cost, involves no decline in water quality, and will meet the consumptive, hygiene, and fire fighting requirements of the existing population of impacted customers for at least one month for a surface water source of water and at least six months for a groundwater source.
Aquatic or Aquatic Dependent Species or Community means a species or community that primarily occurs in aquatic, marine, or wetland habitats, as well as species that may use terrestrial habitats during all or some portion of their life cycle, but that are still closely associated with or dependent upon aquatic, marine, or wetland habitats for some critical component or portion of their life-history (i.e., reproduction, rearing and development, feeding, etc).
Class I Aquifer means an aquifer that is surficial or shallow, permeable, and is highly vulnerable to contamination. Class I aquifers include:
(1) Unconsolidated Aquifers (Class Ia) that consist of surficial, unconsolidated, and permeable alluvial, terrace, outwash, beach, dune and other similar deposits. These aquifers generally contain layers of sand and gravel that, commonly, are interbedded to some degree with silt and clay. Not all Class Ia aquifers are important water-bearing units, but they are likely to be both permeable and vulnerable. The only natural protection of these aquifers is the thickness of the unsaturated zone and the presence of fine-grained material;
(2) Soluble and Fractured Bedrock Aquifers (Class Ib). Lithologies in this class include limestone, dolomite, and, locally, evaporitic units that contain documented karst features or solution channels, regardless of size. Generally these aquifers have a wide range of permeability. Also included in this class are sedimentary strata, and metamorphic and igneous (intrusive and extrusive) rocks that are significantly faulted, fractured, or jointed. In all cases groundwater movement is largely controlled by secondary openings. Well yields range widely, but the important feature is the potential for rapid vertical and lateral ground water movement along preferred pathways, which result in a high degree of vulnerability;
(3) Semiconsolidated Aquifers (Class Ic) that generally contain poorly to moderately indurated sand and gravel that is interbedded with clay and silt. This group is intermediate to the unconsolidated and consolidated end members. These systems are common in the Tertiary age rocks that are exposed throughout the Gulf and Atlantic coastal states. Semiconsolidated conditions also arise from the presence of intercalated clay and caliche within primarily unconsolidated to poorly consolidated units, such as occurs in parts of the High Plains Aquifer; or
(4) Covered Aquifers (Class Id) that are any Class I aquifer overlain by less than 50 feet of low permeability, unconsolidated material, such as glacial till, lacustrian, and loess deposits.
Certain coastal waters means the territorial sea of the United States; the Great Lakes and their connecting waters; and the marine and estuarine waters of the United States up to the head of tidal influence.
Class IIa aquifer means a Higher Yield Bedrock Aquifer that is consolidated and is moderately vulnerable to contamination. These aquifers generally consist of fairly permeable sandstone or conglomerate that contain lesser amounts of interbedded fine grained clastics (shale, siltstone, mudstone) and occasionally carbonate units. In general, well yields must exceed 50 gallons per minute to be included in this class. Local fracturing may contribute to the dominant primary porosity and permeability of these systems.
Coastal beach means any land between the high- and low-water marks of certain coastal waters.
Community Water System (CWS) means a public water system that serves at least 15 service connections used by year-round residents of the area or regularly serves at least 25 year-round residents.
Critically imperiled species or ecological community (habitat) means an animal or plant species or an ecological community of extreme rarity, based on The Nature Conservancy's Global Conservation Status Rank. There are generally 5 or fewer occurrences, or very few remaining individuals (less than 1,000) or acres (less than 2,000). These species and ecological communities are extremely vulnerable to extinction due to some natural or man-made factor.
Depleted marine mammal species means a species that has been identified and is protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, as amended (MMPA) (16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.). The term “depleted” refers to marine mammal species that are listed as threatened or endangered, or are below their optimum sustainable populations (16 U.S.C. 1362). The term “marine mammal” means “any mammal which is morphologically adapted to the marine environment (including sea otters and members of the orders Sirenia, Pinnipedia, and Cetacea), or primarily inhabits the marine environment (such as the polar bear)” (16 U.S.C. 1362). The order Sirenia includes manatees, the order Pinnipedia includes seals, sea lions, and walruses, and the order Cetacea includes dolphins, porpoises, and whales.
Ecological community means an interacting assemblage of plants and animals that recur under similar environmental conditions across the landscape.
Element occurrence rank (EORANK) means the condition or viability of a species or ecological community occurrence, based on a population's size, condition, and landscape context. EORANKs are assigned by the Natural Heritage Programs. An EORANK of A means an excellent quality and an EORANK of B means good quality.
Imperiled species or ecological community (habitat) means a rare species or ecological community, based on The Nature Conservancy's Global Conservation Status Rank. There are generally 6 to 20 occurrences, or few remaining individuals (1,000 to 3,000) or acres (2,000 to 10,000). These species and ecological communities are vulnerable to extinction due to some natural or man-made factor.
Karst aquifer means an aquifer that is composed of limestone or dolomite where the porosity is derived from connected solution cavities. Karst aquifers are often cavernous with high rates of flow.
Multi-species assemblage area means an area where three or more different critically imperiled or imperiled species or ecological communities, threatened or endangered species, depleted marine mammals, or migratory waterbird concentrations co-occur.
Non-transient Non-community Water System (NTNCWS) means a public water system that regularly serves at least 25 of the same persons over six months per year. Examples of these systems include schools, factories, and hospitals that have their own water supplies.
Public Water System (PWS) means a system that provides the public water for human consumption through pipes or other constructed conveyances, if such system has at least 15 service connections or regularly serves an average of at least 25 individuals daily at least 60 days out of the year. These systems include the sources of the water supplies—i.e., surface or ground. PWS can be community, non-transient non-community, or transient non-community systems.
Ramsar site means a site that has been designated under The Convention on Wetlands of International Importance Especially as Waterfowl Habitat program. Ramsar sites are globally critical wetland areas that support migratory waterfowl. These include wetland areas that regularly support 20,000 waterfowl; wetland areas that regularly support substantial numbers of individuals from particular groups of waterfowl, indicative of wetland values, productivity, or diversity; and wetland areas that regularly support 1% of the individuals in a population of one species or subspecies of waterfowl.
Sole source aquifer (SSA) means an area designated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under the Sole Source Aquifer program as the “sole or principal” source of drinking water for an area. Such designations are made if the aquifer's ground water supplies 50% or more of the drinking water for an area, and if that aquifer were to become contaminated, it would pose a public health hazard. A sole source aquifer that is karst in nature is one composed of limestone where the porosity is derived from connected solution cavities. They are often cavernous, with high rates of flow.
Source Water Protection Area (SWPA) means the area delineated by the state for a public water supply system (PWS) or including numerous PWSs, whether the source is ground water or surface water or both, as part of the state source water assessment program (SWAP) approved by EPA under section 1453 of the Safe Drinking Water Act.
Species means species, subspecies, population stocks, or distinct vertebrate populations.
Terrestrial ecological community with a limited range means a non-aquatic or non-aquatic dependent ecological community that covers less than five (5) acres.
Terrestrial species with a limited range means a non-aquatic or non-aquatic dependent animal or plant species that has a range of no more than five (5) acres.
Threatened and endangered species (T&E) means an animal or plant species that has been listed and is protected under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA73) (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). “Endangered species” is defined as “any species which is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range” (16 U.S.C. 1532). “Threatened species” is defined as “any species which is likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range” (16 U.S.C. 1532).
Transient Non-community Water System (TNCWS) means a public water system that does not regularly serve at least 25 of the same persons over six months per year. This type of water system serves a transient population found at rest stops, campgrounds, restaurants, and parks with their own source of water.
Wellhead Protection Area (WHPA) means the surface and subsurface area surrounding a well or well field that supplies a public water system through which contaminants are likely to pass and eventually reach the water well or well field.
Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network (WHSRN) site means an area that contains migratory shorebird concentrations and has been designated as a hemispheric reserve, international reserve, regional reserve, or endangered species reserve. Hemispheric reserves host at least 500,000 shorebirds annually or 30% of a species flyway population. International reserves host 100,000 shorebirds annually or 15% of a species flyway population. Regional reserves host 20,000 shorebirds annually or 5% of a species flyway population. Endangered species reserves are critical to the survival of endangered species and no minimum number of birds is required.
The following state regulations pages link to this page.