Archives: Water

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EPA Postpones Effluent Limits for Power Plants

On April 25, the EPA postponed the remaining compliance dates for steam powered electric generation plants to implement more stringent effluent limits under the Clean Water Act.  EPA postponed the dates (some of which could have taken effect as early as November 2018) to reconsider the rule after receiving petitions from interested groups. The rule … Continue Reading

$900,000 Penalty and Felony Guilty Plea to Resolve Wastewater Dumping Charges

On Oct. 26, 2016, A&L Cesspool Service Corporation (A&L) pled guilty to charges in federal court in Brooklyn, New York for violating the Clean Water Act. A&L was alleged to have dumped waste removed from blocked sewer lines into manholes flowing directly into the Gowanus Canal and other waterways in New York City. The Clean … Continue Reading

EPA’s Environmental Justice 2020 Agenda Reflects the “Flint Effect”

EPA released its Environmental Justice 2020 Action Agenda on Oct. 27. The Agenda details EPA’s strategic plan for 2016-2020 to further implement and integrate “environmental justice” considerations into all of EPA’s programs. Much of EPA’s proposed Agenda appears tailored to respond to the recent drinking water crisis in Flint, Mich. The regulated community should take … Continue Reading

Recent Sierra Club v. Dominion Power Lawsuit Could Open the Flood Gates for Clean Water Act Citizen Suits

The U.S. EPA’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (“NPDES”) program is the cornerstone of Congressional efforts to reduce water pollution from point source discharges. This year marks the 44th anniversary of the 1972 Clean Water Act Amendments, which first established the NPDES program, but after all these years the scope of the program is still … Continue Reading

NPDES Regulations: New Proposed Changes

EPA recently published a wide-ranging series of proposed changes to the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (“NPDES”) regulations. While EPA does not believe that its proposed revisions will generally result in new or increased workload or information collection by authorized states or the regulated community, regulated entities should familiarize themselves with EPA’s proposed changes to … Continue Reading

EPA Releases Final Version of Clean Water Rule

Yesterday, the EPA released the final version of the Clean Water Rule (CWR), which defines categories of water that are now subject to regulation without the need to perform a case-specific “significant nexus” determination. The EPA states that the primary purpose of the new rule is to limit the sometimes slow, confusing and costly process … Continue Reading

Sixth Circuit Decision Applies Clean Water Act’s Permit Shield to Protect General Permit Holders From Liability

The 6th Circuit recently ruled that facilities holding a Clean Water Act (“CWA”) Section 402 general permit — one of two types of National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (“NPDES”) permits — can use the CWA’s “permit shield” provision (33 U.S.C. § 1342(k)) to protect themselves from liability for certain discharges of pollutants that the general … Continue Reading

New Developments in EPA’s Attempt to Regulate Poultry Farm

A new deadline of October 4, 2013 has been set for interested parties to file their motions for summary judgment related to EPA v. Eight is Enough. West Virginia Federal Court will be ruling on EPA’s attempt to regulate a poultry farm. The dispute dates back to June 17, 2011 when EPA inspected Lois Alt’s … Continue Reading

Stormwater Flow Not a “Pollutant” Under Clean Water Act and EPA May Not Regulate it as a Surrogate, Federal Court Holds

The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia recently granted judgment on the pleadings against EPA and held that EPA lacked the authority under the Clean Water Act to regulate stormwater flow as a surrogate for regulating the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for sediments. EPA argued that using stormwater flow as … Continue Reading

Will That Coal Ash Impoundment Send Someone To Jail?

A recent criminal prosecution should have corporate management, in-house counsel, and environmental managers evaluating their coal ash and coal slurry impoundments and employee responsibilities.  On July 5, 2012, The Ohio Valley Coal Company (“Ohio Valley”) pled guilty to two misdemeanor counts of having negligently violated the Clean Water Act for allowing coal slurry releases into … Continue Reading

EPA Finalizes List of 30 ‘Unregulated Contaminants’ For Monitoring in Drinking Water

On May 1, 2012, US EPA announced that it had finalized its third list of ‘unregulated contaminants’ for future monitoring by drinking water providers.  We reported on release of the draft list of 30 substances, and included a listing of the originally-proposed 28 chemicals and 2 viruses, on January 12, 2011.  The final rule identifies … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Overrules EPA “Strong-Arming” under Clean Water Act

The United States Supreme Court recently held that an enforcement order issued by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) under the Clean Water Act (the “Act”) constituted “final agency action” and that the Act did not preclude judicial review of the order. (Sackett v. EPA, No. 10-1062 (U.S. March 21, 2012). The dispute arose … Continue Reading

US EPA Reissues and Replaces 2008 Stormwater Construction General Permit For Five Year Term

On February 16, 2012, US EPA reissued and renewed the expiring 2008 Stormwater Construction General Permit (CGP) for a five-year term.  The new permit covers stormwater discharges from disturbances of one or more acres of land.  EPA states that the CGP is issued to “improve its readability, clarity, and enforceability.”  EPA’s Fact Sheet summarizing the … Continue Reading

Supremes Slam U.S. EPA’s Wetlands Heavy-Handedness During Oral Argument

Justice Alito called EPA’s position “outrageous.”  This was one of the many barbs aimed at EPA during oral argument in Sackett v. EPA, a case where property owners seek pre-enforcement judicial review of an EPA administrative order.  The Sacketts wanted to build a home on a small lot (0.63 acres) in a built-up residential subdivision along … Continue Reading

Rapanos Wetlands Confusion: Third Circuit Accentuates the Circuit Split

When the United States Supreme Court issued its wetlands defining decision in Rapanos v. United States, environmental practitioners, real estate developers, and consultants believed that boundaries would be set for determining when a wetland was regulated under the Clean Water Act (“CWA”).  Although the Rapanos decision was an unusual 4-1-4 decision, there remained hope that a … Continue Reading

Wastewater Treatment Plant’s Services In Lieu of Cash Settlement Held Uninsured

Sometimes businesses enter into settlement agreements where they agree to provide services in lieu of cash.  In a recent case before the New Jersey Supreme Court, an insurer convinced the Court that such a settlement by a wastewater treatment plant was uninsured because it did not constitute a settlement for money damages as defined under … Continue Reading

U.S. EPA Releases New Microbial Risk Assessment Guideline

On July 26, 2011, U.S. EPA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the release of a draft interagency report entitled, “Microbial Risk Assessment Guideline:  Pathogenic Microorganisms with Focus on Food and Water.”  The public comment period is open for 60 days. I invite you to read my article to learn more about this guideline and … Continue Reading

How Are Midwestern States Addressing Nutrient Water Pollution?

Midwestern States are starting to feel the fallout form U.S. EPA’s recent announcement that they are encouraged to develop numeric water quality criteria for the nutrients nitrogen and phosphorus in receiving waters.  What are the issues?  What are states like Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky doing or not doing to comply?  Where have environmental … Continue Reading