VIRGINIA: STANLEY

   Education Is Key to Protecting Ground Water in

   Stanley, VA

   Background

   The Town of Stanley, Virginia (population within town limits is 1,356) is located in
   southeastern Page County in the Shenandoah Valley, approximately 90 miles from
   Washington, D.C. Agriculture is the dominant land use in the community, with
   intermittent residential, commercial and industrial uses throughout the region.
   Manufacturing is the town's major employment sector, with industries located in and
   around the town. The nearest city is Harrisonburg, which provides major employment,
   education, and shopping opportunities.

   Like other small communities in the Shenandoah Valley, Stanley depends on ground
   water wells for its drinking water supply. The town's water is supplied by a series of
   limestone and sandstone formations formed over 500 million years ago. Much of Page
   County has consolidated sedimentary rocks (including limestone, dolomite, shale and
   conglomerate) and clay substrate. Due to the region's karst hydrogeology, there are
   examples of surface and ground water interaction where surface streams disappear
   underground and large springs serve as the headwaters of surface stream flow.

   Stanley's primary water system consists of five wells and two storage tanks with a
   capacity of 0.56 million gallons, and the secondary system consists of an additional well.
   The water system has 1,556 connections serving a total population of 3,800 within and
   outside town limits.  The water is untreated and has excellent water quality. The safe
   yield of the town's wells is estimated to be 513,000 million gallons per day (mgd),
   whereas the consumption level in 2001 was 345,000 mgd. In May 2001, there were
   1,426 connections to the town's public water system; approximately half of the
   connections were for single-family detached homes outside of town limits.

   The major land uses surrounding the town's wells are residential, commercial,
   agricultural, and industrial.  Most of Stanley's production  wells are overlain by up to 120
   feet of clay. The clay restricts the movement of water (and contaminants) from the land
   surface into the underlying aquifer. Even with the natural protection provided by the clay,
   the Town needs to ensure that land use activities will not contaminate the water supply.
   One concern is the numerous businesses that utilize toxic and hazardous materials,
   another is the fact that the northern end of the current landfill lies within the recharge
   area of one of the town wells. Agricultural practices such as the  use of fertilizers and  the
   spreading of poultry litter are  an  additional threat to water quality. A further concern is
   that Stanley's aquifer experiences very high flow rates under rapid recharge conditions
   (such as storm events), which facilitates the transport of surface contaminants to the
   ground water system. Surface runoff can also enter sinkholes (which are abundant in
   Stanley) and rapidly enter the aquifer.

   Priority Contamination Threats
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   Toxic and hazardous materials, fertilizers, and poultry litter are the priority threats to
   Stanley's drinking water sources.

   Local Involvement and Developing the Protection  Plan

   With assistance from the Lord Fairfax Planning District Commission  (PDC), the town
   initiated a wellhead protection program. The program is based in the town's Department
   of Public Works,  and is directed by the Town Superintendent. Preliminary program
   funding was acquired in 1994 through a Wellhead Protection Grant from the
   Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The primary tasks of the program are to (1)
   collect baseline information about the community's water supply, including a source
   water area delineation study, (2) develop public education and outreach efforts, and (3)
   recommend protection and management measures.

   Because public acceptance and  support for resource protection ordinances are
   essential, public  education has always been a primary focus of the wellhead protection
   program. Early in the program, town officials recognized the need to educate local
   citizens about drinking water protection, and developed a brochure for distribution to all
   water customers. This six-panel  brochure (funded by the EPA's Wellhead Protection
   Demonstration Grant) describes the source of Stanley's drinking water, provides a map
   with the location  of the town's six wells, and lists possible contamination sources. The
   brochure also provides a list of simple things that citizens can do to protect their drinking
   water, such as:

          Learn where the wellhead protection areas are and alert the Town
          Superintendent to any potentially contaminating  activities in those areas;
          Have gasoline or home heating oil storage tanks checked for leaks or removed;
          Use lawn pesticides and fertilizers sparingly, and never exceed the
          manufacturer's guidelines;
          Where possible, use "non-toxic" products which  contain no harmful substances;
          Dispose of household cleaners, detergents, and other toxic and hazardous
          wastes properly;
          Use agricultural chemicals sparingly, and follow  directions on the label; and
          Take used motor oil to a gas station for recycling, and refrain from dumping it on
          the ground or down a sink or storm drain.

   Management Measures

   In 1989, Page County's Board of Supervisors adopted a zoning ordinance (Chapter 125)
   that provides municipalities with the authority to manage land use and guide
   development to insure the protection of ground water. The zoning ordinance also
   describes provisions that will preserve agricultural and forested lands for the protection
   of surface water  and ground water,  and prohibits potentially polluting land uses (such as
   junkyards) in source water protection areas. Specifically, the ordinance addresses:

          The use of land, buildings, structures and other premises for agricultural,
          business, industrial, residential, floodplain and other specific  uses;
          The size,  height, area, bulk,  location, erection, construction, reconstruction,
          alteration, repair, maintenance, razing or removal of structures;
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          The areas and dimensions of open spaces to be left unoccupied by uses and
          structures, including variations in sizes of lots based on whether a public or
          community water supply or sewer system is available and used; and
          The excavation or mining of soil or other natural resources.

   A recent management issue that was tackled by the Town of Stanley concerned two
   wells in close proximity to a landfill. For some time, the Town wanted to close these two
   wells and replace them with a new well  on protected land in Page County. However, the
   County was reluctant to provide the Town with the new well site because it was not
   convinced that the landfill posed a threat to the existing water supply. County officials
   changed their minds after Stanley delineated the well recharge area (the zone of
   contribution is directly adjacent to the landfill) and implemented a monitoring program
   that showed degraded water quality. After much negotiation, the Town of Stanley made
   an agreement with Page County to drill  a new well on protected county land so that the
   two wells abutting the landfill can be closed. The new well  was drilled in summer of
   2006 and the transmission line is being installed in fall of 2006.

   Utilizing guidance from the Rural Water Association, the Town is developing a wellhead
   protection overlay district. The Superintendent has begun preliminary efforts with the
   Page County Planning Commission to adopt this ordinance.

   Contingency Planning

   The Town of Stanley  is working closely with the Norfolk and Southern Railroad, which
   transports hazardous materials, to develop an emergency plan should there be a
   derailment that might result in contaminants entering the water system. The plan will
   cover how the spill would be contained and what other emergency actions would need to
   be undertaken. The Town has identified several potential hazardous materials sites in or
   near the well recharge areas, and is cleaning up these potential locations. For example,
   the Town assists with the removal of old underground fuel tanks, and has helped remove
   tanks from a local gasoline station in a recharge area that went out of business.

   Measuring Program Effectiveness

   Stanley's source water protection program has received several awards for its
   conservation efforts, including a 2001 EPA (Region III) Source Water Protection Award.
   Stanley's citizens appreciate the quality of their drinking water and take pride in the
   wellhead protection work that their community is accomplishing.

   For further information, contact:
   Mr. Terry Pettit, Town Superintendent
   Town of Stanley
   Telephone: 540-778-3454, x24
   stanleysuper@earthlink.net
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