Apr 24, 2020

U.S. Supreme Court Issues Decision Regarding How the Federal Clean Water Act Applies to Groundwater Discharges

Groundwater Testing

On April 23, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision in County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund, a closely watched case regarding whether the federal Clean Water Act (CWA) applies to discharges of pollutants to groundwater which reach surface waters. In County of Maui, the plaintiff environmental organizations brought a citizen suit alleging that the defendant-county was in violation of the CWA in regard to the county’s decades-old practice of injecting partially treated wastewater into groundwater wells.  The wells consistently leaked and tracer dye testing confirmed that over 60% percent of the wastewater injected into the wells wound… Read more

Jan 15, 2020

Coal Ash Permit Rule to Target “High Hazard” Sites

The EPA has proposed a rule that would require only “high hazard” coal ash disposal sites to seek permits immediately under its Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (“RCRA”) rule establishing a nationwide permit program for disposal facilities.  Other, less high priority sites will have permitting requirements deferred to an unspecified point in the future.  The EPA’s program will apply in all states other than those authorized to administer their own programs.  So far, only two states have received approval from the EPA to administer the programs – Oklahoma and Georgia.  Under the nationwide rule, there will be three types of… Read more

Aug 21, 2019

SGR Partner Andy Thompson Speaks at Engineering Law and Ethics Seminar

Speaking Engagement

SGR Partner Andy Thompson will speak on September 25, 2019 at a legal seminar for engineers and others involved in the engineering field.  The seminar is entitled Engineering Law and Ethics and will occur at the Hyatt House-Cobb Galleria, 3595 Cumberland Boulevard SE, Atlanta, GA 30339.  Andy will provide an update on Developments in Federal and Georgia Environmental Law including discharges to groundwater, the repeal and replacement of the Waters of the United States Rule, U.S. EPA’s National Compliance Initiatives, Repeal and Replacement of the Clean Power Plan, and PFAS Regulation and Litigation. Some of the learning objectives include: explain… Read more

Mar 20, 2019

Groundwater Pollution Liability Under Clean Water Act to be Reviewed by U.S. Supreme Court

Groundwater Pollution

On February 19, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari to review a unanimous decision by a panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that underground wastewater injection into a groundwater channel that flows to the Pacific Ocean requires a permit under the Clean Water Act.  The Ninth Circuit decision, Hawai’i Wildlife Fund, et al v. County of Maui, 886 F.3d 737 (9th Cir. 2018), is one of two Circuit Court cases finding liability under the Clean Water Act for unpermitted discharges of pollutants to groundwater for which certiorari petitions are pending in the Supreme Court.  The Order issued on… Read more

Sep 26, 2018

Federal Appellate Court Rules That Coal Ash Ponds Not Subject to CWA

Clean Water Act: Coal Ash Pond

On September 12, 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit (which covers federal courts in South Carolina, North Carolina, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia) issued a decision concluding that the migration of arsenic from coal ash stored in settling ponds and a landfill was not subject to the federal Clean Water Act (CWA) because the ponds and landfill were not “point sources” under the CWA. In Sierra Club v. Virginia Electric & Power Company, the defendant operated a coal-fired power plant in Chesapeake, Virginia for over 60 years and stored the coal ash waste on site in… Read more

Mar 2, 2015

Federal Court: Manure From Dairy is Solid Waste Regulated by RCRA

In a first-time ruling, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington ruled in January that manure from a dairy is solid waste regulated under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), and that excessive spreading of manure on agricultural fields, and leachate from storage lagoons, present an imminent and substantial endangerment that can be enjoined through a citizen suit under RCRA. Community Association for Restoration of the Environment (CARE) v. Cow Palace, LLC, No. 13-CV-3016-TOR (E.D. Wash. 1/14/15).  Judge Thomas Rice granted summary judgment to CARE, holding that when excessive manure is applied to crops without regard for… Read more

Nov 5, 2012

Georgia Water Law and Regulations

SGR Partner Andy Thompson is scheduled to speak on November 30, 2012 at a water law seminar for attorneys, engineers, and government employees.  The seminar is entitled Georgia Water Law and Regulations and will occur at the Embassy Suites-Galleria, 2815 Akers Mill Road, Atlanta, GA 30339.  Andy will address legal issues relating to groundwater including groundwater permitting and regulation, common law issues of groundwater usage, discharges to groundwater, and groundwater-related litigation.  For more information about the seminar, go to