Maury Island Water

water droplets captured while descending on to the still water surface

Sole Source Aquifer

  • In 1994 The EPA designated the aquifer under Vashon-Maury Island as a sole source aquifer under the Federal Safe Drinking Water act. There are only 68 EPA designated sole source aquifers in the Nation.
  • When designating the Island aquifer as sole source, the EPA determined that contamination of the system would create a significant hazard to the public health.
  • This aquifer, along with water captured from springs that run under and adjacent to the proposed mine site, provides thousands of people with their only source of fresh clean drinking water.
  • The Islands aquifer is completely dependant on recharge from rainwater.

The Risk to the Aquifer

  • The EPA has determined that glacial deposits, like those found at the proposed mine site, make the underlying aquifer system particularly vulnerable to contamination from activities occurring on the surface of the land.
  • The soils at the Glacier Northwest site are contaminated with high levels of arsenic and lead, both of which are identified as toxic carcinogens by the EPA under the Clean Water Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act.
  • The section of aquifer that runs below the proposed mine site is currently protected from contamination by the filtering action of the hundreds of feet of sand and gravel that Glacier Northwest is proposing to mine.
  • Glacier Northwest is proposing to remove all but 15 feet of this protective layer leaving an inadequate system in place to filter out contaminates.
  • Leaving only a 15 foot buffer also puts the aquifer at risk of direct breaching by mining operations.
  • In recent years, sand and gravel mining operations in the Puget Sound region have breached aquifers on multiple occasions causing neighboring wells to go dry.
  • Because the water in a sole source aquifer is a limited resource, recharge rates as well as water conservation are both extremely important.
  • Studies have shown that due to alternation in the recharge system, the water levels in the aquifer under the mine site will drop.
  • Although they have yet to secure a water right, the King County FEIS on the Glacier Northwest project determined that approximately 10,000 gallons of water would be needed each day in order to control the carcinogenic dust that will be created by mining operations. This is an incredibly wasteful use of water and is equal to the daily usage for approximately 100 people.


This Mine Expansion Doesn’t Make any Sense

It Doesn’t Make Environmental Sense

It Doesn’t Make Economic Sense

It Doesn’t Make Sense For The People Of Washington State