Tag Archives: water quality criteria

U.S. Supreme Court Hears Oral Argument in Clean Water Case

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Today, the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Hawkes v. US Army Corps of Engineers, a case involving a jurisdictional determination (“JD”) under the Clean Water Act (“CWA”) Section 404 permitting program.  Specifically, the case deals with the question of whether a JD is subject to immediate judicial review, or if landowners must […]

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Ohio Places New Burdens on POTWs in Response to Toledo Water Crisis

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New legislation became effective in Ohio last Friday, July 3, that attempts to respond to the toxic algal blooms that shut down water service to approximately 500,000 customers in Toledo last summer.  The application of fertilizer on frozen, snow covered, or saturated soil in the Western Basin of Lake Erie—where the majority of phosphorous spills […]

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Cooperative Federalism: Courts Get it Right in Nutrient Litigation

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In September, two federal court rulings reinforced NACWA’s long-held positions on cooperative federalism and EPA’s proper role in the total maximum daily load (TMDL) and water quality standard development process. Taken together, these two decisions paint a clear path forward for EPA to regulate nutrients in a holistic watershed manner that appropriately addresses nonpoint source […]

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We Applaud Our Members’ Ongoing Commitment to Coastal Water Quality

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I applaud our public agency members for their ongoing commitment to ensuring clean water progress following the release of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s 23rd Annual Beach Report. The Report found a total of 20,120 beach closing and advisory days in 2012, a decrease of 14 percent from 2011.
Although the Report notes that the reduction in closures is largely due […]

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Litigation Over Chesapeake Bay TMDL is All About Sharing the Burden

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Yesterday, a federal district court in Pennsylvania heard oral arguments in a litigation challenge to EPA’s total maximum daily load (TMDL) for the Chesapeake Bay.  In five hours of intense and complex argument, agricultural interests, EPA, environmental activists groups, and municipal utility groups including NACWA presented their perspectives on the legal and policy issues underlying […]

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Nutrient Limbo … How Low Can You Go?

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“The number is going to be low regardless, so let’s make our best guess and deal with it through implementation.” While most clean water agencies have probably never heard their permit writer utter these exact words, this is the mindset of many regulators. When it comes to dealing with the effects of nutrients, regulators seem to believe that arguing over the exact number, when it is likely to be beyond the limits of technology, is pointless. State water quality criteria managers and permit writers, facing pressure to make progress on nutrients, are struggling to find ways to move forward that are reasonable and scientifically supportable, leading to sometimes contentious battles over what the right number is. [ … ]

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