Could your groundwater discharge require a permit under the Clean Water Act? Integral Consulting Principal Marcia Greenblatt, Ph.D., P.E., explains the technical issues and challenges that you may need to address, pending the outcome of a Supreme Court decision on a case involving jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act over discharges to groundwater.
In the article “Justices’ Maui Ruling Could Change Groundwater Permitting,” published in the November 15, 2019, issue of Law 360, Dr. Greenblatt describes the ensuing challenges, and the information that may be needed to address them, if the court rules in favor of regulation of indirect groundwater discharges to waters of the U.S. under the Clean Water Act.
Challenges may include regulatory redefinition of a point source—whether it be the point of discharge, such as the point of injection into a well, or the point at which it enters navigable waters—and standards that would be applied when time-varying hydrogeologic conditions control the travel time and discharge location. In the Law 360 article, Dr. Greenblatt describes the approaches needed to define groundwater flow pathways and outlines strategies for reliable characterization of hydraulic connectivity and related water quality impacts.
An opinion on the case, Hawaii Wildlife Fund v. County of Maui, Hawaii, is expected in mid-2020.
Marcia Greenblatt is a water resources engineer with 21 years of specialized experience in hydrodynamic, water quality, and sediment investigations. She has applied her expertise in numerous litigation cases. For more information, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.