Search

EPA Proposes Waters of the US Recodification

Posted on 6/30/2017 by Roger Marks

A pre-publication copy of a new US EPA and US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) proposal to re-codify the definition of “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) is now available. In it, EPA and USACE propose eliminating the revised definition for WOTUS finalized in June 2015 and continuing to enforce the Clean Water Act based on the pre-2015 definition.

Final_Rule_Clean_water-Act.jpgContinuing to enforce” is the operative phrase here—the 2015 WOTUS definition took effect only briefly before being “blocked” nationwide by a US Court of Appeals in October 2016.

In March of this year, the President signed an Executive Order requiring a review of the WOTUS Final Rule. That same month, EPA and the Army announced their intention to review the Final Rule.


What Is the Waters of the United States Final Rule?

How EPA defines “waters of the United States” is critical to enforcement of the nation’s water laws. This definition tells the regulated community which bodies of water—oceans, lakes, rivers, streams, creeks, swamps, and more—are subject to the requirements of the Clean Water Act.

The definition of WOTUS impacts the way EPA enforces a number of Clean Water Act programs: Oil spill notification (40 CFR 110), SPCC Plans (40 CFR 112), NPDES permitting and stormwater discharges (40 CFR 122), the per-industry standards at 40 CFR 405–471, and dredge and fill permitting (33 CFR 323).

The 2015 revision to the definition of WOTUS greatly expanded the number of bodies of water that could potentially be impacted by Clean Water Act rules.

Before the 2015 Final Rule, EPA enforced a more narrow interpretation of “navigable” waters with respect to the WOTUS definition. The President’s March EO requires EPA to adhere to that stricter definition of “navigable” as interpreted by Supreme Court Justice Anton Scalia in his opinion in the case Rapanos v. United States.

In that opinion, Scalia references an 1870 Supreme Court Case, The Daniel Ball, in which the court interpreted “navigable waters” to mean waters that are “navigable in fact or susceptible to being rendered so.”

A pre-publication of the proposed Rule is available here.


What’s Next for WOTUS Watchers?

EPA has made it clear that restoring the previous definition of WOTUS is only their first step. Next, EPA will work to create a new definition of Waters of the United States to clarify for businesses and individuals which waters are protected under the Clean Water Act and which are not.

Whether another new WOTUS definition will be codified before the end of this presidential administration is anyone’s guess.


EPA Compliance Training—Anytime, Anywhere

ENV-300-computer-image.jpgManaging site compliance with the many complex EPA programs that affect your business—from the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts to TSCA, EPCRA, CERLCA, and more—is a major challenge. If you’re new to the field, or need an update on changing EPA rules, the Complete Environmental Regulations Online Course will help you quickly build in-depth expertise.

Or, check out the latest individual EPA compliance training options here:
 
Clean Air Act Regulations Online
TSCA Regulations Online
New! Clean Water Act & SDWA Regulations Online
Just Launched! Superfund and Right-to-Know Act Regulations Online 
 
The 2017 nationwide schedule for the Complete Environmental Regulations Workshop is now available. Collaborate with other managers to identify the requirements that apply to your facility, ask the right questions, and make the right decisions about EPA compliance.
 

Tags: Act, Clean, EPA, Water, Waters of the United States, WOTUS

Find a Post

Compliance Archives

Lion - Quotes

The instructor took a rather drab set of topics and brought them to life with realistic real-life examples.

Tom Berndt

HSE Coordinator

Having the tutorial buttons for additional information was extremely beneficial.

Sharon Ziemek

EHS Manager

Our instructor was very dynamic and kept everyone's interest. Hazmat shipping can be a dry, complicated topic but I was engaged the entire time.

Kimberly Arnao

Senior Director of EH&S

This is the best RCRA training I've experienced! I will be visiting Lion training again.

Cynthia L. Logsdon

Principal Environmental Engineer

This was the 1st instructor that has made the topic actually enjoyable and easy to follow and understand. Far better than the "other" training providers our company has attended!

Lori Hardy

Process & Resource Administrator

Lion Technology workshops are amazing!! You always learn so much, and the instructors are fantastic.

Dorothy Rurak

Environmental Specialist

More thorough than a class I attended last year through another company.

Troy Yonkers

HSES Representative

The instructor made the class very enjoyable and catered to the needs of our group.

Sarah Baker

Planner

Lion's information is very thorough and accurate. Presenter was very good.

Melissa Little

Regulatory Manager

You blew the doors off the competition!

Stephen Bieschke

Facilities Manager

Download Our Latest Whitepaper

This guide will help you identify 25 of the most -cited errors in RCRA training, recordkeeping, hazardous waste ID, container management, universal waste, and laboratories.

Latest Whitepaper

By submitting your phone number, you agree to receive recurring marketing and training text messages. Consent to receive text messages is not required for any purchases. Text STOP at any time to cancel. Message and data rates may apply. View our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.