Small licence-exempt groundwater sources

Kirk, S.; Seymour, K.; Fletcher, S.; Davies, W.; Cheney, C.S.; Adams, B.. 2000 Small licence-exempt groundwater sources. British Geological Survey, 81pp. (WD/00/015) (Unpublished)

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The Environment Agency has a' general duty ,to 'prott:?ct water resources. It has a further" specific duty to proteCt all so~rc~s from derogation,' and in some circumstances itneects to have particular regard to the presence of such sources to protect them from pollution.' In addition, the Agency's 'Policy and Practice forthe Protection of Groundwater' aims to protect (from pollution) all potable groundwater sources many of which are small, licence-exempt ,sources. However, under existinglegislatio~ai1d the'current abstraction licensing system there is no established mechanism' for identifyIng these sources in order that the Agency can ,adequately fulfil its responsibilities. ' , ' , , Whilst the Agency's primary interest is the identification and protection of Small Licence~ xempt Groundwater Sources ('SLEGS'), British Geo·ldgical Survey's (BGS) interest in this' area lies in enhancing and maintaining the National Well Record Archive. The archive is a unique store of more than 100,000 geologically Classified records of wells, boreholes and springs within England anciWales, for which the main source of information is well logs from drilling companies. , ' : , " ,,' , ", -' This study descnbes and' evalu~tes.the various ways in~hichthe Agency can identify SLEGS' , which, iftaken to include springs; are believed to coinprisethe vast majority of small, exempt sources. The shtdy draws on the experience arid views of Agency staff across England andWales. It reports on the relevant 'legislation, existing practices, data availability, and the lessons learnt from past initiativ~s'by the Agency to identify these sources. The transfer of relevant information betWeen the Agency and BGS' National Well Record Archive is also considered. ,-'-, ' The study reveals that, as a _consequence 'of pastinitiatives~ the Agency has already established a large body ofdatll these soUrces.- In some Agency regions,listings of SLEGS' have been established, by staff working in pollution prevention, whilst in other' regions similar data have peen compiled by abstraction licensing staff. Consultations with Agency staff have highlighted a vanety of existing methods of identifying SLEGS. These include use of: " , ' :'. ,.' • Ad-hQcwater featur~ sui-v~ys'; , , " ' ., Local Authority EnviroIimental Hellith Dep~entiecords of private supplies; .' Water company records of water mains andeonnections; • N~tio~al W,ell Record Archive('13riti~li O~ological.sufvey). Lessons learnt from- the -application of tli'e above methods in various regions are presented so that the collective' experIence of the Agency; can be' shared and used to help guide future initiatives in this field. , ,-' ,- ..' ' The above methods may beusect'in conjunction with, or independent to, the establishment of new local registers of licence-exempt sources (nominally <2Om3/d). For those parts of the country that adopt the new registration scheme, it is 'proposed (DETR 1999) that only those sources that voluntarily 'appear on _ the local. register will be afforded protection from derogation. However, this report finds that the Agency will under some circumstances still need to have regard to SLEGS where they maybe at risk from pollution. ' Furthermore, the Agency's 'Policy and Practice for the Protection of Groundwater' aims to protect (from pollution) all potable groundwater sources, many of which are SLEGS. Beyond legal requirements and the needs of established policy, there may also be considerable additional benefit to the Agency and BGS from identifying SLEGS. This is due to their potential to yield valuable information' about groundwater quality, yield capability and groundwater levels, all of which contribute to the effective management and protection of groundwater. As a consequence, even in areas that establish a'registration scheme, methods of identifying SLEGS(beyond voluntary registration) are still likely to be required. • < In general the study has found that the single most praCtical ~ean~ 'of identifying' the majority' of SLEGS is by access to Environmental Health Department (EHD)' records. of private' supplies. When EHD records are used in combination with other, complemeQ.tary methods; Agency experience shows that reasonably accurate listings of SLEGS cari be produced. This report presents guidance for the' selection of the most appropriate combination of methods to meet local needs. In 'allcase~, care must be taken to ensure that the Agepcy' is compliant with the current data protection law (as recentlyupdated).· . ." As part of this s~dy, new, tentative estimates of the number ofSLEGS in England and Wales are derived. : These figures are compared with an estimate of private water supplies·.(as opposed to sources) from aprevious, unpublished study. . . . . . , A number of recommendations are presented that aredesignedto~egularisethe A.geIicy~s . approach towards SLEGS and to improve future access to infoima,tion:·.· 'Most notably,. the' '. Agency regards access . to EHD records. as a principal requirement to enable"it to carry out its ~egal duties, whilst improvements in the numbers of well logs reported by drilling companies to BGS, would probably be the best means of enhancing the National Well Record Archive.

Item Type: Publication - Report
Programmes: BGS Programmes > Other
Funders/Sponsors: NERC
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: This item has been internally reviewed but not externally peer-reviewed
Additional Keywords: GroundwaterBGS, Groundwater, Groundwater resources, Groundwater protection
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Date made live: 15 Dec 2010 17:03 +0 (UTC)

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