GWPC 2000 Held In Ft. Walton Beach

The annual Ground Water Protection Council (GWPC) Forum was held September 24-27, 2000 in Ft. Walton Beach, FL. Among attendees at this year's forum were state regulators from 38 states. This annual forum is co-sponsored by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Lori Wrotenbery, GWPC President, Oil and Gas Director for New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department, welcomed everyone to the forum and outlined recent accomplishments and current issues for attendees.

Among recent accomplishments were revamping the GWPC Web site, working on the Ground Water Rule in conjunction with EPA, Phase I implementation of the Class V Rule, effective communication with EPA, and working with EPA on the Strategic Planning for Source Water Protection.

Current issues include the Ground Water Rule, state implementation of Source Water Programs, Class I Florida Ruling, hydraulic fracturing, and peer review.

Priorities included membership, improved communication, increased involvement, increased timeliness with information, to get more actively involved in issues, initiatives with other associations.

The Coalbed Methane issues included hydraulic fracturing, conferring with EPA and Western states on water withdrawal and discharge issues.

Funding for national Underground Injection Control (UIC) grant program was listed as one of the priorities, since the UIC programs had a $12 million shortfall for Class II programs and $40 million shortfall for Class V programs.

Jim McNeal with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Groundwater Protection Section, welcomed attendees to Florida. He spoke about the lack of rainfall in Florida causing problems with aquifers. He stressed the need to protect present and future resources and suggested that the EPA adopt groundwater standards that 106 program does not cover.

Cynthia Dougherty, EPA Director, Office of Ground Water/Drinking Water, gave a presentation of the EPA's Drinking Water Contamination Prevention Strategy. She stressed need for a national source water contamination prevention plan that would establish multiple barriers for drinking water from groundwater sources.

She also addressed the compelling need to upgrade the Drinking Water System, adding that data is on a critical path and needs to be compatible with federal, state and local data. Filling in major gaps in the system information would require addressing deficiencies, reduced transaction costs, keeping pace with new rules as they are implemented, meeting public access needs and evaluating options to link with other data sources.

She outlined the purpose of the strategy for attendees: A coordinated approach to protect sources of drinking water and health of those that rely on them. She listed reasons a strategic plan was needed: clarify meaning and scope of prevention and protection; set clear national goal to guide programs; shape priorities, resource allocation and actions; track and measure program progress; define stakeholder roles and responses; help build state and local capacity; and identify research gaps.

Core issues included an ultimate program goal; ways to measure success; identify near term program needs; define roles, responsibilities and resources available; access to necessary data; and identify the best collection system for data.

Regulated Community Issues Round Table discussions were held on UIC outreach, performance criteria, annual mechanical integrity scheduling creep, continuous monitoring definition, Class II waste classification determination study , and regulated uniformity issues.

Presentations were given on subjects as varied as 'Estimation of Changes in Formation Hydraulic Properties from Regular Injection Operational Data' by Dmitry Silin to the 'Interactive Oil Field Emergency Response Web site' by John Veil.

The GWPC passed a resolution requesting legislative clarification of the definition of 'Underground Injection' in the Safe Drinking Water Act on Sept. 27, 2000.

Approximately 270 people attended this annual forum. Varied companies and state and federal agencies displayed information and made presentations during the poster session.