The US EPA Issues Interpretive Statement on Application of NPDES Program to Releases of Pollutants from a Point Source to Groundwater

In the April 23, 2019 edition of the Federal Register, US EPA issued an Interpretive Statement on the conflict over whether certain releases of pollutants from point sources to groundwater require NPDES permits under the Clean Water Act (CWA). This issue is currently being heard by the US Supreme Court in the case County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund. In its Interpretive Statement, US EPA concluded that the CWA excludes all releases of pollutants from a point source to groundwater from NPDES program coverage and liability liability under Section 301 of the CWA, regardless of a hydrologic connection between the groundwater and a jurisdictional surface water. While this interpretive statement is important, it does not currently carry the force of law and we will still have to wait for the Supreme Court’s decision and any subsequent actions from lower courts and EPA.

Source:

US EPA Issues Interpretive Statement on Application of NPDES Program to Releases of Pollutants from a Point Source to Groundwater, 84 FR 16810, April 23, 2019.