The U.S. Department of Defense incorporated NGWA’s comments in its general terms and conditions covering national policy requirements, including environmental protections that apply generally to DoD programs and awards. The rule is effective October 19, 2020.
NGWA submitted comments in November 2016 pointing out that paragraph A.4.f of DoD National Policy Article II (appendix B to 2 CFR part 1122), Environmental National Policy requirements, addressed only underground sources of drinking water that are designated as the sole or principal drinking water source (i.e., a “sole-source aquifer”). While that inclusion was important, it understated the need for protection of groundwater sources of drinking water and didn’t fully reflect the provisions of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA).
NGWA noted that the SDWA also has provisions followed by states and public water systems to designate “wellhead protection areas” around public water system wells as well as areas supplying groundwater to public water system wells (SDWA Section 1428).
The SDWA requires states and communities to delineate the areas to be protected from contamination around public water supply wells and to have a program to manage potential sources of contamination to minimize their threat to underground drinking water sources supplying communities’ wells. Observing these protections may also protect nearby private wells.
The DoD agreed with the comment and amended the requirement by adding wording to be protective of groundwaters of wellhead protection areas in its terms and conditions for programs and awards.