New Waters of the US Rule Takes Immediate Effect

Posted on 9/8/2023 by Lion Technology Inc.

Effective September 8, 2023, EPA and the US Army amended the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) to re-define ‘‘waters of the United States” (WOTUS). The latest update adjusts provisions that were invalidated by unanimous Supreme Court decision on Sackett v. EPA earlier this year.

The new Final Rule amends EPA's previous WOTUS rule, finalized in January 2023, to adjust details that did not conform to the court's recent Sackett decision. 

Specifically, the agencies revised 40 CFR 120.2 and 33 CFR 328.3.

What Did the Supreme Court Decide in Sackett?

The Sackett v. EPA case began in 2007 when US EPA ordered a property owning family (the Sacketts) to cease development on private land because the property contained wetlands that the agency believed to be protected by the Clean Water Act (due to proximity to a protected lake).

After nearly 16 years, the case concluded, and Justice Alito gave the Court’s current interpretation:

"To determine when a wetland is part of adjacent "waters of the United States,".."waters" may be fairly read to include only wetlands that are "indistinguishable from waters of the United States."

This occurs only when wetlands have "a continuous surface connection to bodies that are 'waters of the United States' in their own right, so that there is no clear demarcation between 'waters' and 'wetlands.'"

Sackett v. EPA. "Slip Opinion." Alito, J. Decided May 25, 2023.  [Emphasis Lion's]

Professionals in industry need a clear definition of "Waters of the United States" they can use to make decisions about compliance. With the long-running Sackett case decided and a new rule in effect now, it seems we may have a definition of WOTUS that is here to stay.

Complete Environmental Regulations Training

Want a clearer idea of how major EPA air, water, and chemical programs all fit together to affect your site's activities? Join in on the next Complete Environmental Regulations Webinar on December 14–15 at

EH&S professionals who attend can identify the regulations that apply to their facility and locate key requirements to achieve compliance with the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts to EPCRA, TSCA, Superfund, and more. Prefer to train at your own pace? Try the interactive online course.

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

Find a Post

Compliance Archives

Lion - Quotes

Best course instructor I've ever had. Funny, relatable, engaging; made it interesting and challenged us as the professionals we are.

Amanda Schwartz

Environmental Coordinator

The instructor was very dedicated to providing a quality experience. She did her best to make sure students were really comprehending the information.

Stephanie Venn

Inventory Control Specialist

Lion was very responsive to my initial questions and the website was user friendly.

Michael Britt

Supply Chain Director

The instructor was excellent. They knew all of the material without having to read from a notepad or computer.

Gary Hartzell

Warehouse Supervisor

I like the consistency of Lion workshops. The materials are well put together and instructors are top notch!

Kevin Pylka

Permitting, Compliance & Environmental Manager

Lion does a great job summarizing and communicating complicated EH&S-related regulations.

Michele Irmen

Sr. Environmental Engineer

This course went above my expectations from the moment I walked in the door. The instructor led us through two days packed with useful compliance information.

Rachel Stewart

Environmental Manager

No comparison. Lion has the best RCRA training ever!!

Matt Sabine

Environmental Specialist

The instructor was very very informative, helpful, understandable and pleasant. This course answered many questions I had, being new to this industry.

Frances Mona

Shipping Manager

Amazing instructor; real-life examples. Lion training gets better every year!

Frank Papandrea

Environmental Manager

Download Our Latest Whitepaper

Shipping papers are a crucial part of safely shipping hazardous materials. See the top 5 mistakes shippers make on shipping papers, and how to avoid them.

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.