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The hydrogeological report and/or mitigation shall be submitted to the Whatcom County Health Department with a Water Availability Notification form.
Rainwater catchment cannot be utilized for commercial uses or for the subdivision of lots.
In general, the Department of Ecology has indicated that most groundwater in the Nooksack Basin is in “continuity” with affected surface waters. In most Rural areas a proposed well would be likely to be found in continuity with an affected instream flow and therefore require mitigation.
Per recent Washington State Supreme Court decisions, mitigation must be “drop-per-drop” of water “impaired,” and “in kind, in time and in place” for proposed impairment (Postema; Foster).
WAC 246-290-220 (Group A) requires that a water system’s total daily source capacity shall be sufficient to provide a reliable supply of water equal to or exceeding the MDD (maximum day demand). WAC 246-291-125 (Group B) requires groundwater source approval.
DOH’s position is consistent with federal (CDC) policy, which states: “Bulk water hauling may be acceptable as a temporary solution to a water shortage; however, it is not an acceptable long-term solution for system infrastructure deficiencies such as inadequate sources of supply.” DOH acknowledges that trucked water may be used as a temporary source in emergency situations. The water must come from an approved public water system, and a purveyor is expected to notify DOH or local health in this type of emergency before trucked water is made available to the public.
Trucked water is not accepted as a permanent, uninterruptable water source because it is not reliable or sustainable; there is increased vulnerability to contamination, and financial considerations. Also, terms of a public water system’s water rights may restrict the end use of the hauled water.