9th Circ. Ruling Broadens Reach Of CWA Pollution Liability

Law360, New York (February 1, 2018, 8:05 PM EST) -- The Ninth Circuit on Thursday said that wastewater injections whose pollution reaches navigable U.S. waters via groundwater are subject to Clean Water Act permitting requirements, a decision experts say expands the scope of CWA liability to potentially ensnare activities ranging from coal ash and pipeline spills to agricultural runoff.

Upholding a lower court ruling that Maui County, Hawaii, violated the CWA in allowing pollutants from four wastewater injection wells to eventually seep into the Pacific Ocean, a Ninth Circuit panel held that the injections constituted "point source" discharges that were subject to the CWA's National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permitting requirements...

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