News & Analysis as of

Do You Need To Permit Your Stormwater Discharge?

It has been more than 40 years since Congress created the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) in the 1972 Clean Water Act. Yet, confusion remains about which activities and discharges actually require...more

Low Impact Development’s Supersized Stamp on California Storm Water Regulation

Without much fanfare, low impact development (“LID”) practices have become a dominant trend in federal and California storm water regulation. The California State Water Resources Control Board (“State Board”) and the Regional...more

What You Need To Know About EPA’s New Stormwater Permit

In late September, just before the government shutdown, EPA released its draft “Multi-Sector General Permit” (MSGP) for stormwater discharges from industrial sources. The MSGP is important for two reasons. First, it is the...more

Ninth Circuit’s Fanciful Interpretation of the Clean Water Act Ripe for another Reversal?

Shortly after admonishing the Ninth Circuit for its strained interpretation of the Clean Water Act (“CWA”), the Supreme Court may be asked to repeat itself. On January 8, 2013, in Los Angeles County Flood Control District v....more

More on the Permit Shield Defense: A Permittee Is — Gasp — Entitled to Rely on Regulations and Permits Issued by Delegated State...

Late last month, we noted that a permittee may not rely on the permit shield defense unless it has clearly informed the permitting agency of the nature of its discharge. Now we see the flip side. In Wisconsin Resources...more

What Is the Burden In Proving a Violation of a Stormwater Permit? If It Walks Like a Stormwater Discharge …

Those of us who do NPDES work know that enforcement, including citizen enforcement, against industrial point sources can often be all to straightforward. The plaintiff marches into court with a pile of the defendant’s...more

Ninth Circuit Reverses Prior Ruling: Pollution Levels In Monitoring Data Are Sufficient To Hold County Liable For Storm Water...

Urban storm water runoff has been recognized as one of the most significant sources of water pollution in the country. ...more

California State Water Board Issues New Draft Industrial Storm Water Permit

On July 19, 2013, the California State Water Resources Control Board released its long-awaited 2013 Draft NPDES Permit for the Discharge of Storm Water Associated With Industrial Activities (the "Draft Industrial General...more

Water Quality Law Alert: CA State Water Control Board Opens Public Comment on "Final Draft" of Long-Anticipated Industrial Storm...

As previously reported by my colleague Melissa Foster, on July 19, 2013, the State Water Board published the "Final Draft" of the NPDES Industrial Storm Water General Permit, which is intended to replace the previous version...more

The 2013 Draft MDE General Permit for Stormwater Associated with Construction Activity

The Maryland Department of the Environment (“MDE”) recently released a draft version of the General Permit for Stormwater Associated with Construction Activity that, if adopted, will replace the existing 2009 General Permit...more

State Water Resources Control Board Issues Final Draft of the Industrial General Storm Water NPDES Permit

On Friday, the State Water Resources Control Board released the final draft of the Statewide General National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (“NPDES”) Permit for the Discharge of Storm Water Associated with Industrial...more

WVDEP Finalizes Changes to Natural Gas General Permits and Associated Regulations

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) is in the midst of finalizing changes to general permits and rules in three (3) different areas pertaining to natural gas production and processing. These new...more

Commercial and Residential Developers, Builders and Landlords Face New Storm Water Regulations

On May 8, 2013, the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board approved a new municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4) permit that will have far-reaching impacts on both new development projects and existing facilities...more

New Stormwater Fees in Maryland

During the 2012 legislative session, the Maryland General Assembly passed HB 987, a bill which mandated that the ten separate EPA-licensed storm sewer system (“MS4”) jurisdictions in Maryland (Baltimore City and nine...more

Industry and Developers Affected by Changes to South Carolina’s General Permit for Stormwater Discharges from Construction...

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) has been delegated authority by the EPA to regulate stormwater discharges due to construction activities. An earlier 2006 General Permit is expiring...more

Supreme Court Willing to Reconsider Deference to Administrative Agencies

Most of the federal government's authority is exercised, on a day-to-day basis, through its administrative agencies. Central to the efficiency of those agencies — such as it is — is the judiciary's substantial deference to...more

Supreme Court Reverses 9th Circuit on Logging Roads, Deferring to EPA on Its Industrial Stormwater Rule

On March 20, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court held in a 7-1 decision that Clean Water Act permits are not required for stormwater runoff from logging roads. The decision in Decker v. Northwest Environmental Defense Center defers...more

Supreme Court Confirms EPA’s Interpretation That Logging Roads Do Not Require NPDES Permits

In a 7-1 decision overruling the Ninth Circuit, the U.S. Supreme Court today upheld the Environmental Protection Agency’s (“EPA”) long-standing interpretation that stormwater run-off from logging roads are exempt from NPDES...more

Logging Roads Get A Pass – At Least For Now

Yesterday, in a 7-1 decision with Justice Scalia the lone dissenter, the U.S. Supreme Court handed a major victory to the forest products industry. As it does so often, the Court reversed a Ninth Circuit ruling that had...more

Stormwater Permitting For Tennessee Projects

In Tennessee, permits under the state’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System program are required for construction sites and related support activities to avoid pollution from stormwater runoff. Specifically, a...more

Discharge of Drilling Waste in Ohio Triggers Civil and Criminal Enforcement Actions; Heightens Scrutiny of State Regulatory...

A release of approximately 40,000 gallons of oil and gas operations waste into a Youngstown, Ohio area storm drain flowing into the Mahoning River is igniting a call for tighter regulatory oversight and more transparent...more

The Supreme Court Reverses the 9th Circuit and Reaffirms Its Earlier Interpretation of ‘Discharge’ Under the Clean Water Act

On January 8, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court held unanimously in L.A. County Flood Control District v. NRDC that the flow of polluted stormwater from an improved portion of a navigable waterway into an unimproved portion of...more

U.S. Supreme Court Overturns Effort To Hold Stormwater Permit Holder Liable For Condition Of Waters Passing Through

The United States Supreme Court, in a unanimous ruling, has acted to limit a potential liability of municipalities and other stormwater permit holders with respect to the condition of waters entering and passing through their...more

Flood Control District Wins Dispute Over Discharge Of Storm Water That Flows Through Improved Portions Of Navigable Waterways

In its most recent foray into the meaning of the Clean Water Act, the Supreme Court has answered the fundamental question: “Does a ‘discharge of pollutants’ occur when polluted water flows from one portion of a river that is...more

U.S. Supreme Court Issues Clean Water Act Opinion

On January 8, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision reversing the Ninth Circuit Court of appeals, held that “the flow of water from an improved portion of a navigable waterway into an unimproved portion of the...more

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