The Department’s Groundwater Protection Regulations are intended to prevent contamination of public drinking water supply wells through regulating the application of pesticide products on the Groundwater Protection List within primary recharge areas. A primary recharge area is either an “Interim Wellhead Protection Area” or a “Zone II. ” The following step-by-step approach should enable applicators to determine if they need to comply with the regulations. 

Step One: Are you using a product which contains an active ingredient on the Groundwater Protection List ?
The groundwater protection regulations apply only to pesticides which are on the Groundwater Protection List. The list is maintained on the Department of Agricultural Resources website. If the active ingredient is listed, the applicator must then establish if the pesticide application is to be made in a regulated primary recharge area

Step Two: Are you applying a product which is listed on the Groundwater Protection List within
a regulated primary recharge area ?
The pesticide groundwater protection regulations ONLY apply to regulated primary recharge areas designated as a Zone II or an Interim Wellhead Protection Area (IWPA) by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP). To establish if you are in a regulated primary recharge area, you will need to follow the approach outlined in the following section:

How to Establish The Location of a Regulated Primary Recharge Area- Zone II or IWPA
A. Check to see if the town where the application is to be made is featured on the Zone II List. This list provides information about towns where there are Zone IIs areas for wells that have a pumping rate greater than 100,000 gallons per day. If the town is not listed on the Wellhead Protection List, you can proceed with the application.

If there is a Zone II delineated within the town, you need to determine if the application site falls within the Zone II by clicking on the town. This will take you to a map of the town with the recharge areas delineated. You can zoom in on the areas for more details. Follow this link to the  Zone II List.

B. If the details provided in the Zone II list maps are not sufficiently clear in order for you to determine the location of your application, you should use the state's MASS GIS Online Data Viewer system. This section option allows users to overlay aerial photographs with various other data layers including Zone II areas and IWPAs. You should be comfortable with computer use if you follow this route. Follow this link to the data viewer...

C. Traditional Options
If you do not have Internet access:

  1. Check with the local water department for a Source Water Assessment Plan (SWAP) map which will show all Zone IIs.
  2. Check with the local Board of Health for the Title 5 maps which were updated in 2003
  3. Check with the regional DEP office:
    • DEP Western Regional Office, 413-784-110
    • DEP Central Regional Office 508-792-7650
    • DEP Southeast Regional Office 508-946-2700

If your area of application is located with the primary recharge area, you must determine if you are applying to an area with less than 50% foliar ground cover or greater than 50% foliar ground cover. Proceed to Step 3.

Step Three: Are you applying pesticides in an area which has greater or less than a 50% foliar cover ?
To apply a pesticide which is listed on the groundwater protection list within a Zone II or IWPA (which is permitted to pump greater than 100,000gpd) the applicator must distinguish between the following application scenarios and decide which scenario best applies :

A. For a pesticide product which is applied to an area which has greater than 50% foliar ground cover the applicator must ensure that:

  • there is no viable alternative to the use of the pesticide, and
  • the pesticide is being applied as part of an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program from Department approved sources, and
  • the Department of Agricultural Resources is notified of any applications of a product on the groundwater protection list within ten days of the end of the calendar month in which the pesticide is applied.

B. For a pesticide product which is soil applied or applied to an area with less than 50% foliar ground cover the applicator must ensure that: