U.S. EPA Concludes Pollution Through Groundwater Does Not Require a Federal Discharge Permit

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is seeking public comment on an interpretive statement published April 15, concluding that “releases of pollutants to groundwater are categorically excluded from Clean Water Act’s permitting requirements because Congress explicitly left regulation of discharges to groundwater to the states and to EPA under other statutory authorities.” The full interpretive statement is online. EPA had requested comment on the issue previously; AGC solicited input from members and submitted comments challenging EPA’s consideration of using the CWA permit program to regulate discharges to groundwater eventually making their way to a jurisdictional surface water. AGC strongly maintains that the CWA’s point source program does not regulate releases that reach “Waters of the U.S.” via groundwater. AGC will engage with the agency and industry partners on whether additional clarity is needed. EPA has recognized that it may need to modify its statement in the future, in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision to hear a groundwater “hydrologic connection theory” case. Click here for more information.
For more information, contact Leah Pilconis at [email protected]

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