Archives: Municipal Utilities

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D.C. Circuit Declines Review of US EPA Practices on Blending and Mixing Zones

On February 28, the D.C. Circuit in Center for Regulatory Reasonableness v. US EPA dismissed a challenge to statements made by the US EPA regarding two wastewater treatment techniques – blending and the use of mixing zones. US EPA previously prohibited these techniques in specified circumstances, and in 2013, the Eighth Circuit vacated these prohibitions in Iowa League … Continue Reading

Oral Argument Approaching in Litigation to Expand 8th Circuit’s Ban on US EPA’s Blending Prohibition

Oral argument in the Center for Regulatory Reasonableness (CRR) v. EPA, Case No. 14-1150 (D.C. Cir.) matter has been set for October 21, 2016. At issue is the March 25, 2013 decision of the Eighth Circuit in Iowa League of Cities v. EPA, Case No. 11-3412, which vacated US EPA’s across-the-board prohibitions on the use … Continue Reading

New Ohio Law Increases Protections From Lead Contamination in Drinking Water

On June 9, 2016, Governor John Kasich signed House Bill (HB) 512, a multifaceted law that the Governor has said “puts Ohio in front” and makes Ohio “the leader in the country” in dealing with the problem of lead contamination in drinking water.  After the crisis in Flint, Michigan sparked a national inquiry and events in … Continue Reading

Iowa Utility Files Lawsuit Over Agricultural Pollution

The Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) recently filed suit against several Iowa drainage districts for discharging excess nitrate pollution through groundwater in subsurface agricultural drainage systems into the Raccoon River, which DMWW relies upon to provide drinking water for approximately 500,000 Iowans. As previously reported here, the lawsuit seeks to hold these drainage districts liable … Continue Reading

UK Privatised Water Companies – Not so Private!

The UK’s Upper Tribunal (“UT“) has ruled in Fish Legal v Information Commission and others that privatised water utility companies in England and Wales are considered to be “public authorities” for the purpose of the Environmental Information Regulations (2004) (“EIR“) due to their “special powers” above those of private law. The judgement means that water … Continue Reading

Iowa Utility To Pursue Novel Lawsuit Over Agricultural Nitrate Pollution

The Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) recently issued a notice of intent (NOI) to sue three County Board of Supervisors that oversee several drainage districts reportedly responsible for excessive nitrate pollution being discharged from groundwater in subsurface agricultural drainage systems into the Raccoon and Des Moines Rivers. Recent sampling efforts by DMWW have indicated nitrate … Continue Reading

US Supreme Court Appoints Special Master in Interstate Water Dispute

A. Gregory Grimsal has been appointed by the US Supreme Court as the Special Master in State of Texas v. State of New Mexico et al., Case No. 220141 ORG. Special Master Grimsal, a commercial litigation attorney from New Orleans, Louisiana, will now manage the proceedings in the case going forward and eventually recommend a decision to the Court.  … Continue Reading

Chesapeake Bay TMDL Appeal Oral Argument Will Confront US EPA’s Ability to Target Nutrients

The US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has set oral argument for November 18, 2014 in American Farm Bureau Federation, et al. v. US EPA, an appeal of a September 13, 2013 district court decision upholding US EPA’s December 2010 total maximum daily load (TMDL) limits for the Chesapeake Bay. As we previously … Continue Reading

California Adopts Historic Groundwater Laws

For a state that has 840 miles of sweet Pacific Ocean coastline, it might seem ironic that California is hurting for water. But years of drought and unregulated groundwater use have devastated groundwater aquifers, forcing the California legislature to finally step in with what some farmers in California’s Central Valley are calling “draconian” regulation. The … Continue Reading

Ohio Aims to Boost Criminal Penalties for State Water Pollution Violations

Ohio Governor Kasich’s recently-introduced Mid-Biennium Budget Review Environment bill (HB 490) would revise R.C. § 6111.99 to significantly increase criminal penalties for violations of Ohio’s water pollution laws. Under current Ohio law, certain criminal violations of Ohio’s water pollution laws, such as water pollution acts, falsification of data, or criminal violations of orders, rules or permits … Continue Reading

US EPA Holds Experts Forum on Public Health Impacts of Wet Weather Blending

In response to the 8th Circuit’s decision in Iowa League of Cities v. EPA, US EPA held an “Experts Forum on Public Health Impacts of Wet Weather Blending” on June 19 -20, 2014. The purpose was to enlist the expertise of public health officials to “ensure that EPA has appropriate health-based information associated with different engineering options available to … Continue Reading

21 US States and 8 Counties Join in Debate on Chesapeake Bay TMDL

Earlier this month, 21 states and a group of 8 counties filed amicus briefs with the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit supporting the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) and other agricultural groups challenging USEPA’s December 2010 total maximum daily load (TMDL) for the Chesapeake Bay. At issue is the September 13, 2013 opinion of … Continue Reading

Obama Administration Extends Comment Period on Social Cost of Carbon in the US

As a follow up to our previous report, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has extended the public comment period on the Obama Administration’s November 2013 technical support document (TSD) on the social cost of carbon (SCC) by 30 days to February 26, 2014.   The extension came in response to requests by industry for more time … Continue Reading

USEPA Opts Not to Appeal 8th Circuit Decision in Iowa League of Cities v. EPA

USEPA has decided not to appeal the 8th Circuit’s March 25, 2013 decision in Iowa League of Cities v. EPA, which vacated USEPA’s across-the-board prohibitions on the use of mixing zones for primary contact recreation waters and “blending” for peak wet weather flows.  The 8th Circuit previously denied USEPA’s request for rehearing.  The deadline for filing an appeal … Continue Reading

8th Circuit Denies USEPA’s Petition for Rehearing of Blending Decision in Iowa League of Cities v. EPA

The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals issued an Order on July 10th summarily denying USEPA’s Petition for Rehearing (see previous frESH blog post – USEPA Seeks Rehearing of the 8th Circuit’s Blending Decision) of its decision in Iowa League of Cities v. EPA.  The denial leaves intact the 8th Circuit’s  momentous opinion which vacated USEPA’s blending and mixing zone prohibitions (see … Continue Reading

Obama’s Climate Change Action Plan

During a speech at Georgetown University on June 25, 2013, President Obama unveiled his climate change action plan.  Not surprisingly, the plan seeks to increase reliance on renewable energy and decrease consumption of fossil fuels. It further directs USEPA to finalize the much anticipated regulation of energy generating units (EGUs) before the end of the President’s … Continue Reading

Obama Administration Increases the Social Cost Of Carbon in the US

Overnight going “green” became a more attractive option for businesses and manufactures.  How?  The Obama administration increased the social cost of carbon (SCC). This increase will impact every industry that deals with greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions regardless of size.  The SCC is a monetary value agencies use to perform cost/benefit analysis to quantify the benefits … Continue Reading

USEPA Seeks Rehearing of 8th Circuit’s Blending Decision in Iowa League of Cities v. USEPA

USEPA filed on May 9 a Petition for Rehearing En Banc of the 8th Circuit’s decision in Iowa League of Cities v. USEPA , which held that USEPA failed to abide by proper notice and comment procedures and further lacked authority under the Clean Water Act to prohibit the use of blending by wastewater utilities.  … Continue Reading

USEPA Rejects NRDC Petition to Set New Nutrient Level Standards for POTWs

In 2007, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and ten other environmental non-governmental organizations (together, the “Environmental NGOs”) petitioned USEPA to establish nationally applicable technology-based secondary treatment standards for publically owned treatment works (POTWs) to control nitrogen and phosphorous.[1]  After sitting on it for over 5 years, USEPA recently denied the Environmental NGOs’ petition on … Continue Reading

District Court Decision Casts Doubt on Planned Revisions to USEPA’s Municipal Stormwater Regulatory Program

A recent decision from the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia found that the Clean Water Act (CWA) does not authorize USEPA to regulate stormwater volume, or “flow,” as a surrogate measure for individual pollutants such as sediment contained in municipal stormwater runoff.[1] The decision may cause difficulties for USEPA’s planned revisions to … Continue Reading
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