What Can We Expect Following the EPA Repeal of Waters of the U.S. Rule?

On September 12th, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the finalized repeal of the 2015 rule that expanded the definition of “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act and limited pollution into surface waters of the U.S. through regulations and permitting. The EPA rule is now expected to cover fewer waterways and narrow existing protections, covering only wetlands adjacent to a major body of water, or ones that are connected to a major waterway by surface water. Opponents of this rule have felt this repeal was long overdue and expect that it will reduce federal permitting requirements for development and industry. HISTORY OF THE RULE Since 1972, the Act has regulated pollutant discharge to surface waters by requiring permitting and regulatory conditions for any industrial polluter, as well as discharges from rural and agricultural landowners and real estate developers. The applicability of the Clean Water Act has been controversial,
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Stormwater Compliance In Practice

The history of stormwater regulation dates all the way back to 1972 with the passage of the Clean Water Act (CWA) by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The CWA, and subsequent legislation over the years, is both the precursor and the framework for current stormwater permits today.  The laws were initially passed to create some control over the amount of pollution entering waterways through industrial stormwater runoff.  The EPA has given the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) the authority to regulate stormwater permits in Texas.  The permit most commonly used by industry is the TXR050000 Multi-Sector General Permit. So what is a “sector?” The TCEQ has broken the TXR050000 permit down into industry specific sectors, from A through Z and on to AD.  Each sector covers a specific industry or group of industries.  You can find which sector you might fall into based on your SIC code.  With
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WHAT IS going on with WOTUS?

On November 16, 2017 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers (Agencies) proposed to amend the effective date of the 2015 Clean Water Rule (commonly known as the WOTUS Rule) defining the “waters of the US”. The proposal is to delay the effective date of the Rule until 2020 giving the agencies time to reconsider and revise the definition. The WOTUS Rule, which was originally slated to come into effect in  August 2017, was adopted by the Agencies under the Obama administration in a 2015 Rule titled “Clean Water Rule: Definition of Waters of the United States”. In June 2017, the Agencies proposed to rescind the WOTUS Rule following an executive order under the Trump Administration to review and revise the definition of the “waters of the US”. The WOTUS Rule affords federal protection for about 22 million acres of wetlands and over two million miles
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Environmental Compliance Auditing Multi-State Large Scale Manufacturing Facilities

W&M conducted and provided oversight of environmental compliance audits to determine regulatory applicability and potential compliance gaps with local, state, and federal environmental regulations at Manufacturing Facilities in Texas, New York, and Pennsylvania. The audits were conducted under the Texas Environmental, Health, and Safety Audit Privilege Act, the Pennsylvania Voluntary Environmental Audit Policy, and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Environmental Audit Incentive Policy.

Implementing the Clean Water Rule In Texas

The EPA’s new rule defining waters of the U.S. (the Clean Water Rule) was briefly the law of the land here in Texas.  “Waters of the U.S.” is one of the most fundamental of environmental definitions because it effects an array of extensive legislation including Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and most developments that require filling a pond, wetland, or stream.  From August 28 to October 8, 2015, the new waters of the U.S. definition was in force, but not clearly understood.  It takes time and experience to find the true limits of a new legal definition.  The rule has been blocked by two courts putting off implementation of the new definition for now.  What is at stake in Texas? Here are three of the biggest issues that remain undecided while Texas waits to hear from the courts: 1. Tributaries Under the old rule, waters of the U.S. extended from a
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Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Audit for Storage and Distribution Terminal

W&M recently was tasked to review a client’s storage and distribution terminal facility operations and provided them with assurance of regulatory compliance under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and Clean Water Act (CWA).  W&M successfully conducted an environmental compliance audit to determine regulatory applicability and potential compliance gaps with state and federal environmental regulations.  The audit was conducted under the Texas Environmental, Health, and Safety Audit Privilege Act.  The results of the audit also provided suggestions for future management practices aimed to help them save time and money. Areas covered in the audit included: Client’s Wastewater Permit and Wastewater Treatment Plant operations; Storm water discharge permitting and an existing Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWP3) were reviewed; RCRA compliance including waste classification and waste handling practices; The client’s Industrial and Hazardous Waste Notice of Registration (NOR) was evaluated for potential gaps, discrepancies, and completeness for waste codes and
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