Clean Water Act NPDES

The Clean Water Act is a United States federal statute enacted in 1972 to reduce levels of toxic substances in the nation's water supply and to prevent high levels of new contamination.  The CWA seeks to... more +
The Clean Water Act is a United States federal statute enacted in 1972 to reduce levels of toxic substances in the nation's water supply and to prevent high levels of new contamination.  The CWA seeks to accomplish its stated goals by preventing point and nonpoint pollution sources, assisting wastewater treatment facilities and maintaining wetlands. less -
News & Analysis as of

Fourth Circuit Upends NPDES Permit Shield

The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit recently upheld a lower court’s determination that a West Virginia mining company was not shielded from liability by its NPDES permit. The mining company’s permit...more

Discharge Permits Not Required to Transfer Water: Court Upholds EPA Rule

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit recently issued a long-awaited ruling confirming the legality of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (“EPA’s”) Water Transfers Rule in Catskill Mountains Chapter of Trout...more

Second Circuit Upholds Water Transfers Rule

On January 18, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reversed the lower court and held that EPA’s 2008 promulgation of the “Water Transfers Rule” (Rule) published in the Federal Register at 73 FR 33697 on June 13,...more

Second Circuit Upholds EPA’s Water Transfers Rule

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Water Transfers Rule last week. Catskill Mountains Chapter of Trout Unlimited, et al. v. EPA, et al. 14-1823, 14-1909,...more

Early January Environmental Odds And Ends

“The old order changeth, yielding place to new.” January 2017 has been a very active month, with several important environmental and federal administrative court rulings being issued, and many significant rules being proposed...more

Fourth Circuit: CWA Permit Shield Requires Compliance with Incorporated Quality Standards

A recent Fourth Circuit decision will have wastewater dischargers taking a closer look at their NPDES permits and state water quality standards. The court of appeals held, in Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition v. Fola Coal...more

New circuit split raises questions about ‘permit shield’ defense in Clean Water Act cases

Can a discharger violate a general narrative state water quality standard incorporated into its national pollutant discharge elimination system (“NPDES”) permit when the permit does not contain specific numeric effluent...more

U.S. EPA Chooses Flexible Approach to Stormwater General Permit for Small Communities

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is issuing a final rule revising the regulations governing how small municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s) obtain coverage under National Pollutant Discharge Elimination...more

EPA Publishes Final Rule for Small MS4 General Discharge Permits

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) General Permit Remand Rule in the Federal Register on Dec. 9,...more

California Must Pick Up Stormwater Check

Local public agencies realized an important victory in a more-than-decade-long, who-should-foot-the-stormwater-bill battle — a battle focused on a permit issued by the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board to the...more

Wet Weather Regulations Now More Expensive Under EPA's Industrial Stormwater Settlement Penalty Policy

Heavy and consistent rainfall this summer, even before Tropical Storms Hermine and Julia and Hurricane Matthew, produced a tremendous amount of stormwater. Grass swales were too saturated to allow infiltration, and retention...more

Impacts of the 2016 U.S. Election on Environmental Law, Policy, and Enforcement

The 2016 election results will have wide-ranging impacts on the future direction of environmental law, policy, and enforcement in the U.S. With 100 lawyers in offices around the U.S. focused on environmental and natural...more

EPA Issues Final 2016 NPDES Pesticide General Permit

On November 1, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published its Final National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Pesticide General Permit for Point Source Discharges from the Application of...more

Railcars as Point Sources

According to an October 25, 2016 ruling by the District Court for the Western District of Washington, a railcar carrying coal may be a “point source” for pollution under the Clean Water Act (CWA), 33 U.S.C. §§ 1251 et seq.,...more

Massachusetts Environmental and Land Use Alert

Off to Court We Go: Petitioners Challenge EPA’s Small MS4 General Permit for Massachusetts - The storm of debate and criticism over the terms and conditions of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) General...more

EPA Updates Penalty Calculation Guidance for Industrial Stormwater Discharges

On September 8, the EPA published Supplemental Guidance to the 1995 Interim Clean Water Act Settlement Penalty Policy for Violations of the Industrial Stormwater Requirements. This new guidance applies only to stormwater...more

CWA: EPA Settlement Telegraphs Changes to General Permit Coverage for Facilities with Coal Tar Sealed Pavement

On August 16, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reached a settlement in Clean Water Act (CWA) lawsuits filed over its 2015 Multi-Sector General Permit (MSGP) for Stormwater Discharges from Industrial...more

EPA Decides No Additional Regulations Are Needed to Address Stormwater Discharges from Forest Roads Under the Clean Water Act

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has determined that, at this time, no additional regulations are needed to address stormwater discharges from forest roads under Section 402(p)(6) of the Clean Water Act (CWA). The...more

EPA Declines to Regulate Forest Road Discharges Under the Clean Water Act

The Environmental Protection Agency issued a decision on July 5, 2016, that declined to regulate discharges from forest roads for regulation under Section 402 of the Clean Water Act. As such, it remains the case that...more

Pierce Atwood Environmental Regulatory Compliance Calendar

Federal - Notice of Availability of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Two Updated Chapters in the EPA Air Pollution Control Cost Manual - EPA is making two finalized chapters of the EPA Air Pollution Control...more

Three Strikes and Mingo Logan Is Out: The D.C. Circuit Affirms EPA Withdrawal of Approval of Mountaintop Removal Disposal Sites

In 2013, the D.C. Circuit affirmed EPA’s authority to withdrawal approval of mountaintop mining disposal sites, even after the Army Corps has issued a Section 404 permit. In 2014, the District Court rejected Mingo Logan’s...more

EPA Proposes Nationwide Changes to Discharge Permit Program

On May 18, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) proposed changes to the discharge permit program that will affect all dischargers and the terms and conditions in their future permits. The proposed rule would...more

Massachusetts Moves To Assume Control of CWA Program as EPA issues Disputed MS4 Permit

Massachusetts’ status as one of only four states not in control of the Clean Water Act program within its boundaries may change as the state begins the process of applying to U.S. EPA for delegation of that program. ...more

Comments Due August 15 on EPA Proposal to Remove Emergency Defense from Title V Operating Permit Regulations

On June 14, 2016, EPA proposed to remove the affirmative defense for emergency conditions from the Title V operating permit program regulations. Comments on this proposed rule are due by August 15, 2016. The Title V...more

Massachusetts Seeks Delegation of Clean Water Act Permitting Program

Massachusetts is known for its comprehensive and innovative environmental laws and regulations. One exception has been the administration of the Clean Water Act’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES)...more

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