§ 78a.51. Protection of water supplies.
(a) A well operator who affects a public or private water supply by pollution or diminution shall restore or replace the affected supply with an alternate source of water adequate in quantity and quality for the purposes served by the supply as determined by the Department.
(b) A landowner, water purveyor or affected person suffering pollution or diminution of a water supply as a result of oil and gas operations may so notify the Department and request that an investigation be conducted. Notice shall be made to the appropriate Department regional office or by calling the Departments Statewide toll free number at (800) 541-2050. The notice and request must include the following:
(1) The name, address and telephone number of the person requesting the investigation.
(2) The type, location and use of the water supply.
(3) Available background quality and quantity data regarding the water supply, if known.
(4) Well depth, pump setting and water level, if known.
(5) A description of the pollution or diminution.
(c) Within 10 calendar days of the receipt of the investigation request, the Department will investigate the claim and will, within 45 calendar days of receipt of the request, make a determination. If the Department finds that pollution or diminution was caused by the oil and gas operations or if it presumes the well operator responsible for polluting the water supply of the landowner or water purveyor under section 3218(c) of the act (relating to protection of water supplies) as a result of completion, drilling, stimulation or alteration of the unconventional well, the Department will issue orders to the well operator necessary to assure compliance with this section. The presumption established by section 3218(c) of the act is not applicable to pollution resulting from well site construction.
(d) A restored or replaced water supply includes any well, spring, public water system or other water supply approved by the Department, which meets the criteria for adequacy as follows:
(1) Reliability, cost, maintenance and control. A restored or replaced water supply, at a minimum, must:
(i) Be as reliable as the previous water supply.
(ii) Be as permanent as the previous water supply.
(iii) Not require excessive maintenance.
(iv) Provide the water user with as much control and accessibility as exercised over the previous water supply.
(v) Not result in increased costs to operate and maintain. If the operating and maintenance costs of the restored or replaced water supply are increased, the operator shall provide for permanent payment of the increased operating and maintenance costs of the restored or replaced water supply.
(2) Quality. The quality of a restored or replaced water supply will be deemed adequate if it meets the standards established under the Pennsylvania Safe Drinking Water Act (35 P.S. § § 721.1721.17), or is comparable to the quality of water that existed prior to pollution if the water quality was better than these standards.
(3) Adequate quantity. A restored or replaced water supply will be deemed adequate in quantity if it meets one of the following as determined by the Department:
(i) It delivers the amount of water necessary to satisfy the water users needs and the demands of any reasonably foreseeable uses.
(ii) It is established through a connection to a public water supply system that is capable of delivering the amount of water necessary to satisfy the water users needs and the demands of any reasonably foreseeable uses.
(iii) For purposes of this paragraph and with respect to agricultural water supplies, the term reasonably foreseeable uses includes the reasonable expansion of use where the water supply available prior to drilling exceeded the actual use.
(4) Water source serviceability. Replacement of a water supply includes providing plumbing, conveyance, pumping or auxiliary equipment and facilities necessary for the water user to utilize the water supply.
(e) If the water supply is for uses other than human consumption, the operator shall demonstrate to the Departments satisfaction that the restored or replaced water supply is adequate for the purposes served by the supply.
(f) Tank trucks or bottled water are acceptable only as temporary water replacement for a period approved by the Department and do not relieve the operator of the obligation to provide a restored or replaced water supply.
(g) If the well operator and the water user are unable to reach agreement on the means for restoring or replacing the water supply, the Department or either party may request a conference under section 3251 of the act (relating to conferences).
(h) A well operator who receives notice from a landowner, water purveyor or affected person that a water supply has been affected by pollution or diminution shall report receipt of notice from an affected person to the Department within 24 hours of receiving the notice. Notice shall be provided electronically to the Department through its web site.
This section cited in 25 Pa. Code § 78a.66 (relating to reporting and remediating spills and releases).
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