water coming out of a pipe

Green Technologies and their Impact on Groundwater: How Green is Green?

As the Biden Administration pushes to transition the country away from fossil fuels to green energy sources, we have been faced with the reality that demand for these necessary minerals could soon outpace supply. For example, electric vehicle manufactures have been searching for additional sources of lithium to meet the Administration’s call for electric vehicles to make up approximately 50 percent of all cars by 2030. Similarly, it is estimated that the world will need almost 50 percent more than its current supply of copper …

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Long Island Water Districts Settle Claims Arising from Alleged 1,4-Dioxane Contamination

You may have read about the slew of lawsuits filed over the past few years by Long Island water districts seeking to recover damages arising from alleged contamination of drinking water supplies by 1,4-dioxane. Our blog has covered them here, here, here, and here.

There is news on the settlement front. One of the primary defendants and the U.S. government have agreed to resolutions in two cases: Bethpage (in the amount of $49 million) and South Farmingdale (in the amount of …

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CWA Alert: High Court Establishes New “Functional Equivalent” Test for Permitting Related to Groundwater Discharge

Last week, the United States Supreme Court provided additional guidance regarding the application of the Clean Water Act. In short, the Clean Water Act requires the federal government to regulate certain groundwater pollutants that find their way into navigable waters such as oceans, rivers and streams. 

The recent Supreme Court opinion has been considered by many to constitute a compromise of opposing positions, as it rejects the Trump Administration’s goals of lesser regulation, but also eliminates a Ninth Circuit court ruling that would have increased permitting requirements related to …

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New York Continues to Lead Nation in Regulation and Removal of 1,4-Dioxane

New York continues to strengthen its regulatory approach to 1,4-dioxane. Last month, the state Department of Health adopted the nation’s first maximum contaminant level (MCL) for 1,4-dioxane in drinking water, The regulation is working its way toward implementation and is now in the public comment period. Following assessment of public comments, the proposed regulation will either be revised or submitted for adoption by the Public Health and Health Planning Council. The regulation will then go into effect upon publication of a Notice of Adoption in the New …

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PFAS Alert: More Bipartisan Legislation Being Introduced

On March 28, 2019, U.S. Senators. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), and Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), and U.S. Representatives. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.) and Jack Bergman (R-Mich.) introduced bipartisan legislation to sample water for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

The PFAS Detection Act of 2019 would authorize the United States Geological Survey (USGS) to conduct a nationwide sampling to test surface and groundwater for PFAS pollution, with a special focus on water near sites already known or suspected to be contaminated. The PFAS Detection Act also appropriates $45 million …

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Breaking: U.S. Supreme Court Will Weigh in on Clean Water Act Circuit Split, and EPA May Tip the Scale

Big news on the Clean Water Act (CWA). With the backdrop of a major circuit split (previously discussed here), the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear the Ninth Circuit case of County of Maui, Hawaii v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund. The Supreme Court will now have to determine whether discharges of pollutants to surface waters via groundwater are regulated under the CWA.

In County of Maui, plaintiff-environmentalists alleged that the wastewater from a municipal wastewater treatment facility was seeping through the groundwater and ending …

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Federal Study Provides Further Evidence Of PFAS’ Omnipotence, Adding To Pre-Existing Concern

It’s no secret that more and more states are investigating PFAS chemicals to determine whether regulation is wise. The U.S. Government has been grappling with the same issues. Contaminants of emerging concern (CECs), including PFAS, are of great interest to regulators, water treatment utilities, the general public and scientists. When considering, for example, 2016 data collected by federal scientists that estimates that up to 110 million people are served by water supplies with PFAS, investigation is important. As we are well aware though, the federal …

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Tall Drink of Wastewater: EPA Considers Permitting Wastewater Disposal Into Texas Rivers and Streams

For every barrel of oil drilled in Texas, four-to-five barrels of wastewater are produced. The abundance of untreated water has led the EPA to consider whether to permit oil drillers in Texas to discharge wastewater directly into local rivers and streams, avoiding the complicated and costly process of trucking the water to underground wells that may be many miles away. If put into effect, this plan would alter established federal clean water regulations that have been in place for decades.

Currently, drillers pump wastewater, a …

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Legal Acrobatics or Sound Interpretation: Ground Water Regulation under the Clean Water Act

In February, we reported about whether ground water can be regulated under the Clean Water Act. As a refresher, we discussed Hawaii Wildlife Fund v. County of Maui — a case involving the indirect discharge of injection well wastewater into the ocean by traveling through groundwater. The court held there that for purposes of the CWA the injection wells were a point source, requiring an NPDES permit for groundwater because “the pollutants are fairly traceable from the point source to a navigable water such that …

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California’s Groundwater Protection Plans Seek to Protect and Preserve the State’s Most Scarce Resource

This past winter, California finally experienced the rain it had been desperately awaiting for several years. The state Department of Water Resources is tracking more than 22 million acre-feet of water in its reservoirs, hoping that it will replenish the losses sustained from 2012 onward when a drought began ravaging the state. While California residents must be excited at the prospect of longer showers, state water officials are researching how to best make the bounty last.

California precipitation is unpredictable, and the state is generally …

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