Feb 21, 2017

EPA Sued by Homebuilders over Joint Liability for Stormwater Issues

Storm Drain: NPDES Stormwater Permit

In a lawsuit filed on February 6 in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, developers working on construction sites with multiple contractors have alleged that they should not be liable when another contractor causes a violation of the project’s NPDES stormwater permit.  Historically, multiple operators at a single site are required to obtain individual permits but share responsibility for compliance for the entire project. The suit argues that the joint and liability language of the construction permit makes all contractors responsible for each other’s permit violations even when the contractors have no control over the operations… Read more

Jan 25, 2017

Water Transfer Rule Upheld


In a split 2-1 decision, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed EPA’s 2008 “Water Transfer Rule” which exempted water management facilities from obtaining Clean Water Act National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits. The Water Transfer Rule was an outgrowth of the 2004 Supreme Court decision in South Florida Water Management District v. Miccosukee Tribe, and is important for flood control projects, water supply particularly in arid areas, dams and hydropower generation, and related activities involving the necessary movement of water. Several environmental organizations and governments challenged the rule in the District Court for the Southern District of New York… Read more

Apr 13, 2015

U.S. EPA Outlines National Strategy for Use of Green Infrastructure by Local Governments

Guidance recently issued by the U.S. EPA details the Obama administration’s national strategy for encouraging municipalities to utilize existing and new green infrastructure to help alleviate climate change. The EPA guidance document, which was released on February 22 and can be read in its entirety here, encourages municipalities to review local ordinances and planning documents to encourage the use of green infrastructure techniques which mimic natural processes such as the use of vegetation to slow down the flow of stormwater and to capture runoff before undiluted pollutants from paved surfaces can enter stormwater and combined sewer sanitary systems. Such techniques… Read more

Nov 7, 2014

EPA Plans to Increase Chemicals to be Monitored in CWA Permits

In response to a report of its Inspector General (IG), EPA has announced plans to require wastewater treatment plants to monitor additional chemical pollutants and notify regulators when limits are exceeded. Issued September 29, the final IG report, entitled “More Action is Needed to Protect Water Resources From Unmonitored Hazardous Chemicals”, identified a gap in monitoring and reporting on over 300 chemicals that would be considered hazardous waste under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), but are exempted from regulation because they are discharged to wastewater treatment plants. However, most publicly owned treatment works (POTWs) do not monitor for… Read more

Apr 25, 2014

Federal Court in NY Invalidates EPA Water Transfer Rule

A ruling by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on March 28, invalidating a Bush-era EPA rule exempting transfers of water between two water bodies from National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting requirements, could expose entities involved in such transfers—irrigation districts, drinking water utilities, stormwater systems, cities, counties and others—to citizen suits and other Clean Water Act (CWA) enforcement proceedings. Catskill Mountains Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Inc. v. EPA, 44 ELR 20068 (S.D.N.Y., No. 08-CV-5606, -8430, 3/28/2014). The Court remanded EPA’s 2008 rule to EPA for reevaluation. In 2003, the Supreme Court ruled in South… Read more

Aug 26, 2013

Proposed EPA Rule Will Allow Holders of NPDES Permits to File Reports Electronically

Under a newly proposed EPA rule, holders of NPDES wastewater discharge permits will be required to file permit information and reports electronically rather than the paper reports that are currently required.  The rule will apply to all NPDES permit holders, including industrial facilities and municipally-owned wastewater treatment plants. A permit facility currently must file periodic discharge monitoring reports and other information with the permitting agency which is usually the state.  Reported data includes specific locations where a discharge is authorized and how pollution in the discharge is controlled. For more information, contact Phillip Hoover.

Jul 26, 2013

Environmental Groups Petition EPA to Regulate Runoff from Commercial and Institutional Sites

Ten environmental groups have petitioned the U.S. EPA to include commercial and institutional sites in the class of operations that require permitting under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (“NPDES”).  Currently, the Clean Water Act (“Act”) explicitly authorizes EPA to require NPDES permits for industrial and municipal discharges; however, there is no specific mention of commercial and institutional sites. The petitioners have alleged that, while not specifically mentioned in the Act, discharges from these operations could be regulated under the catch-all provision of the Act directing the EPA to require permits for any discharge the director determines “contributes to a… Read more

Jul 16, 2012

U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Scope of Clean Water Act Jurisdiction Case

In a break with longstanding EPA policy, the 9th Circuit has issued an opinion declaring that stormwater discharges from forest roads are regulated under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (“NPDES”) permitting process.  Historically, the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) has considered runoff of rain from forest roads outside of the scope of NPDES permitting, and it has been left to individual states to control runoff by implementing best management practices (“BMPs”).  If the Supreme Court upholds the 9th Circuit ruling, the EPA’s longstanding position that runoff from forest roads does not require permits will be invalidated, and forest roads will… Read more

Jun 25, 2012

Georgia’s New Storm Water Permit

The Environmental Protection Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources must reissue National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits every five years.  The previous general permit for industrial storm water discharges was issued in 2006 and expired in 2011.  Facilities covered by the 2006 permit must file an application for a notice of intent by June 30 if they wish to continue to be covered by the 2012 general permit.  This permit applies to industrial and industrial-like facilities, including manufacturing, transportation & logistics, waste treatment and disposal, airports, and water transportation facilities.  It divides industrial activities into different sectors,… Read more

Jun 8, 2012

Stormwater Runoff Not Regulated by Clean Water Act

The U.S. EPA has published a rule specifying that stormwater runoff from logging roads does not require a discharge permit under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (“NPDES”) Program.  The rule specifies that logging roads on both public and private land should be managed under best management practices, which rules are often developed by states, rather than regulated under the Federal Clean Water Act.  The new rule specifies that runoff from logging roads is not a discharge “associated with industrial activity,” and therefore not regulated. For more information, contact Phillip Hoover.